On Thursday, March 1, an Air Canada flight bound for Vancouver had to push back its takeoff after a passenger’s LG phone caught fire aboard the plane.
The flight which was scheduled to leave at 7 a.m. However, there was a two-hour delay after a passenger’s phone began to burn while the aircraft was sitting at the gate.
No Major Damage
A spokesperson from Air Canada, Peter Fitzpatrick, detailed what happened on Flight AC 101. He revealed that while the fire caused alarm inside the aircraft, no one was seriously injured. The owner of the LG phone suffered from minor burns to the hand but was able to walk off the plane.
He added that the passenger had to go to Etobicoke General Hospital for treatment. On Thursday afternoon, the police in Peel Region confirmed that the device in question was an LG phone. However, they did not reveal specific details such as the model of the LG phone that caught fire.
As reported by CBC, Transport Canada also confirmed that they were aware of the incident.
“The aircraft sustained no damage as the crew was able to extinguish the fire promptly. Once the fire [was] extinguished, paramedics assisted the passenger in possession of the cell phone, who sustained burns to the hands.”
One of the passengers on the flight, Brandon Scott, revealed that it was a relief that the incident occurred while the plane was still at a gate.
“People were jumping out of their seats and in the aisle. It looked like a small campfire-sized flame. If it was 20 minutes later, up in the air, it would have been a really serious situation.”
The fire caused no real damage, but passengers sitting close to the area where it happened had to step out of the plane as the crew cleaned up the residue from the fire extinguisher.
Another person on the flight, Jose Cressy, a city councilor in Toronto, described that there had been some yelling before they saw the smoke inside the cabin. He agreed that the situation would have been different if the phone caught fire mid-flight. He also expressed his gratitude to the crew who were quick to act when the incident happened.
Cressy detailed that there was a moment of fear and panic, but it didn’t last long. Most of the passengers were more concerned about how long the delay would be.
According to Robin Smith, the airport operator’s spokesperson, there has been no incident similar to what happened in the past year, but occurrences, where phones catch fire are not entirely improbable.
He added that there were rules created following the issues related to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 which were banned on some flights.
“Lithium battery volatile problems are enough of an issue that it’s a common topic of discussion and you see photos popping up online.”
The Galaxy Note 7 was not the only phone to have battery-related problems. Lithium-ion batteries have been known to have overheating issues. Around October of last year, reports surfaced that some iPhone 8 units burst open due to battery issues.
As noted above, the model of the LG phone that caught fire aboard the Air Canada flight is not known, but it is advisable to switch off any device using lithium-ion batteries when it starts to overheat to avoid similar problems.