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iPhone fire on plane caused by loose screw

UPDATE May 6, 2012: A loose screw that punctured a battery has been blamed for an iPhone fire an Australian plane.

In November, a Rex Airlines passenger service from Lismore to Sydney was taxing to the gate after landing when a cabin crew member noticed smoke coming from a passenger's iPhone.

The crew member discharged a fire extinguisher onto the offending Apple handset. The smoke cleared after several minutes.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) report into the incident, just released, says

A small metal screw had been misplaced in the battery bay of the mobile telephone; the screw puncturing the battery casing and causing an internal short circuit leading to heating and thermal runaway.

It was probable that the screw had been misplaced during an earlier repair carried out on the telephone.

That repair had not been conducted by an authorised service provider.

This investigation highlights the risks associated with the use of non-authorised agents for the repair of lithium battery-powered devices, and reinforces the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) recommendations that these devices should be carried in the cabin and not in checked-in baggag

AN ATSB investigator travelled to Sydney airport to investigate the event.

The iPhone was then transported to the ATSB technical facilities in Canberra for initial examination and then forwarded to the United States for detailed examination at a specialist facility.

RAW DATA: The ATSB's report (PDF)

Aussie airline extinguishes smoking iPhone

Nov 29, 2011: Australian airline Regional Express (Rex) says a smoking iPhone had to be extinguished on its flight ZL319 operating from Lismore to Sydney.

The incident occurred "after landing, when a passenger’s mobile phone started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow," the airline said in a statement.

"In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately and the red glow was extinguished successfully."

No passengers were harmed.

This afternoon, a Rex spokeswoman confirmed the November 25 incident to NBR.

She said the airline had reported it to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for investigation and directions.

The ATSB took possession of the iPhone, and said a technical investigation is underway. Apple said it would happily cooperate.

The airline has released a photo of the smoking iPhone (above).

The Rex episode recalls an incident reported by NBR in November last year that saw a Christchurch man's HTC Android phone burst into flame.

Comments and questions

My iPhone 4 gets astonishingly hot when plugged in to the charger... quite alarmingly so.

Wonder if there's a problem or if that's a feature.

How could a phone that gets "astonishingly hot" be a feature??

Lol - are you serious? Haha

Haha... that's what you get for buying sweatshop manufactured products. They should have got a Galaxy S2.

Damn straight!

Samsung GS2 FTW!

Another example of Apple's "planned obsolescence" ?

All iphone users have a loose screw anyway!!

This was proven to be caused by a home repair that left a small loose screw under the battery - when the phone was sat on (jammed in a small plane seat) the screw was pushed into the battery causing a short - the problem is a LiOn battery safety issue

Why hasn't NBR added the update? Bios or lazy?