Passengers aboard an Australian flight were given a real fright when an iPhone inexplicably exploded, resulting in smoke inside the cabin and launching a million snide comments on tech blogs from iSceptics everywhere.
The handset, which was either an iPhone 4 or the new iPhone 4S, self-combusted inside a Regional Express flight LZ319 from Lismore to Sydney, causing the rear glass backing to shatter and a significant portion of the middle-right area to melt.
According to a media release by the airline, “a passenger’s mobile phone started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow”.
Luckily, the plane had already landed when the incident happened. A flight attendant successfully extinguished the phone and no one was injured.
It’s as-yet-unclear what caused the explosion. The handset in question has been sent to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) for analysis and an investigation will be underway by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
This is certainly not the first time an iPhone has exploded and while we don’t like drawing conclusions without evidence, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that in the rush to meet continuous demands, some units, possibly the batteries themselves, were manufactured with defects.
The rare occurrence might not be cause for a total recall of iPhones. However, it is cause for concern nonetheless when it happens inside an airplane.
Apple has yet to comment on the situation.