In a rare accident, an Apple iPhone XR caught fire in a British Airways Boeing 787-9 while the plane was in flight, after getting crushed below a seat, as per a report by Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch made public yesterday. The accident had happened on October 1, 2020.
The passenger, flying from Miami to Heathrow, had earlier dropped it down the side of her seat. Later, unaware of the incident, she adjusted the seat from a lie-flat bed position to the conventional one 40 minutes before landing, adhering to the announcement by the cabin crew, which is said to be the reason why the iPhone got crushed. Her added weight to the seat might also have had to do with the cracking of the phone.
The announcement had woken the lady up, and after changing the seat position, she was going to the washroom when she was asked by a cabin crew member if she could “stow the bedding” while she was away from the seat.
When she tried to do the same, she felt a strong odour and then noticed a charging cable plugged to the seat socket while its other end was trapped inside the side of her seat. She described the smell as “sulphur” which was reportedly getting stronger.
Right when she alerted a cabin crew member about this, they “heard a “hissing” sound and a large plume of grey smoke emitted from the seat in a “tornado” motion. They remembered seeing an orange glow in the seat area amongst the smoke.”
The crew members found a red mobile phone trapped inside the seat mechanism. “The crew attempted to remove the device but it was jammed. There was very little heat coming from the device.”, says the report
They unplugged the device and used fire extinguishers to get a control over the situation. After the source of smoke was clearly identified and it was seen that there were no secondary sources of the smoke, the pilot decided to continue for the landing at Heathrow airport.
The aircraft had 53 passengers and 10 crew members on board. The report adds that the incident caused no damage to the plane or any passengers aboard.