Exploding batteries in a passenger’s headphones have prompted the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to reiterate its warnings about the dangers associated with using lithium battery–powered devices during flight.
The event occurred during a recent flight from Beijing to Melbourne, Australia, when the passenger, who had fallen asleep, awoke to a loud explosion, the ATSB said.
The ATSB’s report quoted the passenger as saying, “As I went to turn around, I felt burning on my face. I just grabbed my face, which caused the headphones to go around my neck.
“I continued to feel burning, so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire.
“As I went to stamp my foot on them, the flight attendants were already there with a bucket of water to pour on them. They put them into the bucket at the rear of the plane.”
The battery and cover had melted and were stuck to the floor of the airplane, the ATSB said.
The ATSB’s description of the event included no information on the date of the flight or the airline and no details on the extent of the passenger’s burns.
The agency said that the incident should serve as a reminder to passengers that battery-powered devices should be kept in approved storage when not in use and that spare batteries should be in carry-on baggage, not in checked baggage. Passengers should know where the devices are before moving powered seats, and if the devices cannot be located a cabin crewmember should be contacted for assistance, the ATSB said.