Samsung phone catches fire on Southwest plane

A Southwest Airlines flight in Louisville, Ky., bound for Baltimore was grounded on the tarmac Wednesday morning after a passenger’s Samsung smartphone caught fire and filled the cabin with smoke.

Capt. Kevin Fletcher, of Louisville fire department’s arson unit, said a Samsung smartphone overheated Wednesday morning and began to smoke, which led Southwest Airlines to evacuate the plane before it departed for Baltimore.

A spokeswoman from the Louisville airport confirmed to CBC News that the Southwest flight 944, a Boeing 737, was grounded then emptied 10 minutes before takeoff with 75 passengers and crew aboard.

“A customer reported smoke emitting from an electronic device,” the airline told CBC News in a statement. “All Customers and Crew deplaned safely via the main cabin door.”

Fletcher said there was minor damage to the plane’s carpet where the device was dropped.

U.S. website The Verge reported Wednesday that the device in question was a Galaxy Note 7 that was powered down when the fire broke out. Citing the owner of the smartphone, it said the device in question had apparently already been recalled and allegedly repaired last month, after official warnings about the smartphones came out.

Samsung, Southwest and American federal aviation-safety officials declined to say what model of Samsung phone was involved, saying they were still investigating.

Samsung is in the process of recalling millions of Galaxy Note 7 phones because of problems with the battery. The company says it’s aware of almost 100 incidents in the U.S. in which the devices have caught fire.

Many airlines have been advising customers to not fly with the devices, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officially advises against bringing the devices onto an airplane.

Air Canada and WestJet have urged passengers not to use the phones on their flights.

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