Samsung phone emits smoke on Indian airline flight

September 23, 2016 8:58 AM EDT

A Samsung Galaxy Note II phone-cum-tablet is displayed during the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Marcus


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By Aditi Shah

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Samsung Electronics smartphone stored in an overhead baggage compartment on an Indian plane emitted smoke in mid-flight on Friday, India's aviation regulator said, but there was no damage and the aircraft landed safely.

Passengers on board an IndiGo flight smelled smoke coming from the baggage bin and alerted cabin crew who saw sparks and smoke coming from a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone, the airline, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, said in an emailed statement.

Flight crew used a fire extinguisher on the phone and put it in a container filled with water, the airline said.

The IndiGo flight was on its way to Chennai from Singapore.

The regulator described the incident as a suspected fire but the airline said there had been no fire.

Samsung recalled its new Note 7 phones across the globe this month due to faulty batteries causing the devices to catch fire while charging or in normal use, raising fears for the future of the flagship device.

There have been no previous reports of similar problems with the Note 2 model, first released in 2012.

Samsung is looking into Friday's incident, a company spokesman said in an emailed statement. "We are in touch with relevant authorities to gather more information," he said.

Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, did not confirm if the device is a Note 2.

India's aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), will send an advisory to airlines warning passengers to keep all Samsung Note smartphones switched off during flights or avoid carrying the phones on commercial jets altogether, a spokesman said.

The DGCA has called Samsung representatives to its office in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the incident.

Regulators and airlines in several countries, including the United States and China, have issued warnings to air travelers to keep Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones turned off and unplugged during flights.

The problems with the Note 7 knocked billions of dollars off the market value of Samsung Electronics, which had tried to pre-empt rival Apple Inc by launching the almost $900 Note 7 on Aug. 19, about a month ahead of the latest iPhone release.

Asked about the incident in India, a spokesman for Europe’s air safety regulator, the European Aviation Safety Agency, referred to previous guidance stating passengers should inform cabin crew if any electronic device is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost, or falls into the seats.

It has advised airlines to tell passengers not to turn on or charge their Galaxy Note 7s when on board.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan in Berlin; Writing by Tommy Wilkes; Editing by Adrian Croft)



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