Samsung phone owner says thick smoke filled Southwest cabin befo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Samsung phone owner says thick smoke filled Southwest cabin before evacuation

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Passengers were forced to evacuate a Southwest Airlines plane at Louisville International Airport on Wednesday after a Samsung Galaxy Note7 cell phone started smoking on board.

“It was real thick, just brown, gray smoke, and it kind of filled the cabin from there as it dissipated and moved around,” cell phone owner Brian Green told WDRB News.

It happened Wednesday morning on Southwest Flight 994 from Louisville to Baltimore.

Green said he was given the phone as a replacement for his previous Note7, which was recalled due to overheating issues. He says this new phone, which was deemed safe, started overheating after he turned it off and put it in his back pocket while crew members were giving safety instructions.

“Right after I did that, I heard a popping sound. I was looking around to see what was going on, and I just saw that smoke was pouring out of my pocket. I pulled it out and threw it onto the ground,” Green said.

All 75 people on board were safely evacuated from the plane around 9:15 a.m. while it was still at the gate.

In a statement from Samsung, a spokesperson says:

“Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share."

In the meantime Southwest officials say:

“We will continue to monitor this situation and follow the FAA guidelines. At this time, our Operations Agents will continue to make PA announcements regarding the Samsung recall in the gate areas during the boarding process and, prior to each flight, our Flight Attendants will continue to make announcements before leaving the gate.” 

“Had it been in flight, surely it would have been a different type of situation,” said Capt. Salvador Melendez with the Louisville Division of Fire.

Officials are saying the incident could have been much worse, while fellow travelers are left in disbelief.

“Have a phone literally ignite in your pocket, when not even using it ... It's unbelievable,” Victor Rivera said.

And one man says he's never been more happy not be up on the latest technology.

“I'm just an old guy. I'm 70-years-oldm and I have a flip phone,” Fred Sondles said.

Green, in the meantime, is counting his blessings.

“I could have been charging it at home and been in the shower, and it could have caught my home on fire and injured my family,” he said.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Louisville Metro Arson are investigating the incident.

CPSC released the following statement Wednesday:

“CPSC is moving expeditiously to investigate this incident. Thankfully, reports indicate that all of the passengers were able to make it off the plane without harm. Agency staff has already reached out to the FAA and Samsung to gather the facts about the incident.  Agency staff will also reach out to the consumer who experienced a serious incident with his phone. I want to reiterate my call for consumers who have the recalled Galaxy Note7 to keep their smartphones powered down and to immediately take advantage of the remedies being offered by Samsung. Consumers should know that one of the remedies is a refund.”    

Green has since purchased a new cell phone and chose to go with a company other than Samsung.

Related Stories:

UPDATE | Aircraft evacuated at Louisville International Airport due to overheated Samsung phone

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