Safety warning after passenger's headphones explode on Beijing to Melbourne flight video

Edward Bodkin

A passenger woke to find her headphones on fire and burning her neck on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne.

An airline passenger has spoken of her horror when her battery-operated headphones exploded on her face mid-flight.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has issued a warning after the woman, travelling from Beijing to Melbourne, was left with a burnt face, hand and burnt hair.

The woman, whose identity has been concealed by the ATSB, said she was listening to music on a pair of battery-operated headphones when she fell asleep about two hours into the flight.

The woman's hand was also burnt.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau

The woman's hand was also burnt.

She then heard a loud explosion.

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The woman was badly burnt when her headphones exploded on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau

The woman was badly burnt when her headphones exploded on a flight from Beijing to Melbourne.

"As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face," she said.

"I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck.

"I continued to feel burning so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire."

Flight attendants quickly poured a bucket of water on the headphones but the battery and cover were melted and stuck to the floor of the aircraft.

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Photos show her hair and eyebrows singed and filled with black soot.

For the remainder of the flight, passengers endured the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and burnt hair.

"People were coughing and choking the entire way home," the passenger said.

In its safety warning, the ATSB said the potential for in-flight issues is increasing as the range of products using batteries grows.

Battery-powered devices should be stowed when not in use and spare batteries must be kept in carry-on baggage, not checked baggage, the warning said.

Fairfax Media has requested further details from the ATSB including the make and model of the headphones and battery.

The incident follows several incidents of Samsung Galaxy phones exploding and being banned on planes.

Samsung recalled their Galaxy Note 7s due to faulty batteries that were catching fire.

Lithium ion batteries, commonly used in phones and handheld electronics, use highly flammable liquid that can explode if a battery short circuits.

The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority has more information about travelling safely with batteries and portable power packs.

 - Sydney Morning Herald

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