Southwest Airlines has confirmed with TechCrunch that a flight from Louisville to Baltimore was evacuated while still at the gate after a device began to emit smoke. “All customers and crew deplaned safely via the main cabin door,” a representative explained. “Customers will be accommodated on other Southwest flights to their final destinations.”
No passengers were injured in the incident.
The airline confirmed with that the unit is likely a Samsung device, according to its “initial reports,” though it failed to specify a model number. The owner of the device, on the other hand, was far more specific, confirming with The Verge that not only was it a Galaxy Note 7 – it was actually a one of the Green Battery Icon replacement units the company sent customers after receiving three dozen reports of faulty devices.
The handset’s owner, Brian Green says that, unlike initial incidents that can largely be traced back to charging devices, the handset was powered down at the request of a flight attendant. According Green, the Note was in his pocket when it began emit smoke. He then dropped the device to the ground, which only exacerbated the situation, with the handset eventually burning a hole in the carpet.
Green sent a photo of the Note’s box, featuring the tell tale black square printed above the barcode, denoting that the handset was one of the replacement models.
The story is just the latest in a month-plus-long saga surrounding the company’s flagship phablet, which has included an official warning from the FAA asking users to power off and unplug their devices when boarding a flight.
Update: Samsung’s response to the matter is unsurprisingly non-committal, explaining that the company is working with Southwest on matter. Here’s the full statement.
Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.