Samsung can't seem to catch a break as the company suffers another PR nightmare. A month ago the company issued a recall because dozens of its Galaxy Note 7 phones caught fire after just a few days or weeks of usage. The company said the issue was caused by faulty battery cells and over the last couple of days it worked hard to get replacement to Note 7 owners.
Unfortunately, one of those replacement units hit the spotlights today as it caught fire on the Southwest Airlines flight 944 from Louisville to Baltimore. The plane was still in the gate and Brian Green, owner of the phone, says he had just powered down the device and put it in his pocket when it began smoking.
He dropped the Note 7 on the floor of the plane, a "thick grey-green angry smoke" poured out of the smartphone and it burned its way through the plane's carpet. Fortunately, nobody got hurt but Southwest Airlines had to cancel the flight.
What makes this incident alarming is that Green received the phone on September 21st as a replacement for his faulty Note 7. Green says the phone had a green battery icon, which means Samsung marked it as safe, and he provided photographic proof of the phone's box, which reveals the black square symbol that indicates this is indeed a replacement Note 7.
Green said that he had powered down the phone as requested by the flight crew and put it in his pocket when it began smoking. He dropped it on the floor of the plane and a "thick grey-green angry smoke" was pouring out of the device. Green’s colleague went back onto the plane to retrieve some personal belongings and said that the phone had burned through the carpet and scorched the subfloor of the plane.
He said the phone was at around 80 percent of battery capacity when the incident occurred and that he only used a wireless charger since receiving the device.
Green says he has replaced his Samsung phone with an Apple iPhone 7. His Note 7 is currently in the hands of the Louisville Fire Department’s arson unit for investigation. This could be either be a very unfortunate fluke, or an indication that there may soon be a recall for the "safe" versions of the Note 7. At this point we can only speculate but it looks bad.