A phone reportedly caught fire on an Alaskan Airlines flight as the plane landed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The crew responded to the fiery threat by quickly evacuating the plane upon landing, and using fire extinguishers and battery containment packs to contain the fire. Minor scrapes and bruises for multiple passengers have been reported as well.
While the handset was reportedly charred beyond recognition, a spokesperson for the Port of Seattle told The Seattle Times that the device had been identified as a Samsung Galaxy A21 by a passenger during an interview by the local police body. That said, authorities themselves were unable to confirm the identity of the phone.
There were 128 passengers and six crew members aboard Flight 751 which had landed in Seattle after its departure in New Orleans. The official Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Twitter account initially reported that incident had triggered from the cargo hold of the plane, but later rectified this statement:
Earlier this evening, POSFD responded to a report of a fire in the cargo hold of Alaska Airlines Flight 751. Upon arrival, the fire was contained and passengers and crew were evacuated from the aircraft. Passengers were transported by bus to the terminal, some with minor injuries. The aircraft was towed to a gate and there were no impacts to airport operations.
Update: clarifying incident occurred in the aircraft cabin. Only minor scrapes and bruises were reported.
Given that it's a Samsung phone making the unfortunate headlines in this case, parallels to the company's disastrous Note7 are inevitable. After widespread reports of units catching fire, the South Korean firm was forced to recall the handset. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officially banned the use of Galaxy Note7 devices, and Samsung eventually discontinued its handset permanently. This time, though, it is is important to remember that the Samsung Galaxy A21 was announced back in April 2020, and since this is the first time we're hearing news about a unit catching fire, this was likely an unfortunate but isolated incident.