Alaska Airlines Evacuated a Flight After a Passenger's Cell Phone Caught Fire
Emergency slides were deployed to get the 128 passengers and six crew members off the aircraft. "Passengers were transported by bus to the terminal, some with minor injuries," Seattle-Tacoma International Airport said in a Tweet. "The aircraft was towed to a gate and there were no impacts to airport operations." The airport later added that a "clarifying incident occurred in the aircraft cabin" and that "only minor scrapes and bruises were reported."
The blaze broke out shortly after the landing of the flight, which arrived on time at 8:42 p.m. local time, according to FlightAware. "The crew acted swiftly using fire extinguishers and a battery containment bag to control the fire and deployed the evacuation slides due to hazy conditions in the cabin," an Alaska Airlines spokesperson told Newsweek. "All guests exited the aircraft. Medics met the aircraft to attend to guests and crew."
Port of Seattle spokesperson Perry Cooper told The Seattle Times that the passenger identified the phone as a Samsung Galaxy A21. "After much digging, I can tell you that the phone was burned beyond recognition," Cooper said, though he emphasized his team wasn't able to confirm the model based on the remains.
Cell phones catching fire on planes has long been an issue, often occurring when the mobile devices are dropped and caught in automatic chairs.
Alaska Airlines equipped all of its flights with fire containment bags in 2016 specifically to address lithium-ion battery fires. Made of fire-resistant material, the Hot-Stop 'L' bags can contain temperatures up to 3,200 degrees. "When it comes to safety on board our aircraft, we need to act quickly," Alaska Airlines' vice president of safety Tom Nunn said on the airline's blog.