A passenger on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne has been injured by her flaming headphones. It is though the malfunction was caused by the batteries within the headphones.
The woman, who has not been named, was woken by what she described as an explosion and said she felt burning on her face around two hours into the 11-and-a-half hour flight.
It is understood that she had fallen asleep while wearing her headphones.
“I continued to feel burning so I grabbed them (her headphones) off and threw them on the floor”, she told the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
Though the woman was only lightly injured, she described the headphones as “sparking (with) small amounts of fire” after the batteries exploded.
Flight attendants were quick to react, and poured water on the smouldering headphones. The woman said the crew kept her melted headphones in a bucket of water in the rear of the aircraft for the remainder of the flight. However, both the battery and cover had melted and become stuck to the floor of the plane.
The smell of scorched electronics and burnt hair remained in the aircraft and the passenger remarked that this caused some discomfort for other passengers. “People were coughing and choking the entire way home”, she told the ATSB.
The ATSB said it was likely the batteries in the device had caught fire, warning that “as the range of products using batteries grows, the potential for in-flight issues increases”.
Fears over the safety of some devices have led to some aviation authorities advising passengers to keep their phones switched off when on board, and out of their checked bags.