Some scary moments were reported at the Prague airport recently due to a young girl and her iPhone. An airplane taking off from Prague, Czech Republic, that was headed to Tel-Aviv, Israel, was evacuated recently just before takeoff when it was discovered that a passenger’s iPhone 5 had caught on fire in her handbag. The aircraft subsequently filled with smoke and concerns started to arise. At first the cause of the smoke wasn’t known, but officials conducted a mandatory search which eventually led them to the passenger, a young girl, to check her bag and found the iPhone hand burned and was releasing smoke.
No injuries or damages to plane itself were reported from the incident. The flight was eventually cleared allowing officials to board and conduct a more thorough investigation. Once it was determined that the plane was safe, however, passengers were allowed to begin boarding once again and finally allowing the plane to take off.
This is not the first time there have been reports of an iPhone catching fire and causing harm to users. Just recently it was documented an incident in Maine where a girl received second-degree burns from a fire started in her pocket by her phone. In another instance earlier in July a Galaxy S was reported to have caught fire when the user fell asleep using their phone and it was left under their pillow. This likely caused it to overheat which led to the fire. In both these situations fortunately no one was hurt just badly shaken.
The girl who was boarding the airplane destined for Israel, was traveling with other members of her family on the flight, and was able to continue on to her destination once the problem was resolved, but without her phone. In July, the Civil Aviation Authority released several videos that covered the new dangers of traveling with lithium batteries, which can be found powering most modern smartphones. Lithium batteries offer a much higher power output allowing phones to last longer even with the even increasing use we put them through, the down side being that they can be unstable. The video series covered the increased fire risk that some airline workers might face when handling passenger’s personal belongings. The videos were shown to airport personnel and workers. The CAA says that although the batteries are safe for the most part, the high energy levels they have means that they can pose a fire risk.
While passengers can currently bring tablets, phones, and other small electronics onboard officials say in the future it may be necessary to ban them, which begs the question, how will we be able to fly and still bring along our phone and other devices? For now providing WIFI on airplanes and other conveniences for the owners of electronic devices will continue to be big incentives to lure passengers to specific airlines while also tempting users to use their devices in flight. No current changes have been made because of the incident and it’s worth noting that this is the first recoded incident that an iPhone fire has caused the evacuation of an airplane.
BYLINE: Stephanie is an avid freelance writer for EZBuysDirect, an online retailer of the cutest iPhone 5 cases. She writes about all things Apple and emerging mobile technology. Her hobbies include movies, traveling and spending time with her two cats.