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Samsung Galaxy A21 ignites on plane, forces evacuation at SeaTac

Samsung Galaxy A21
Samsung Galaxy A21 (Image credit: Samsung)

What you need to know

  • A Samsung Galaxy A21 caught fire inside the cabin of an Alaska Airlines flight after it landed in Seattle.
  • The phone was reportedly burned beyond recognition.
  • Two passengers, who received minor injuries, were treated at a local hospital.

An Alaska Airlines flight that landed in Seattle Monday evening from New Orleans had to be evacuated after a passenger's Samsung Galaxy A21 phone caught fire inside the cabin. According to The Seattle Times, the phone was burned beyond recognition.

The flight crew extinguished the fire using a battery containment bag, but passengers had to be evacuated from the plane via evacuation slides due to the smoke. Port of Seattle transported 128 passengers and six crew members to the terminal by bus. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, and the incident had no impact on airport operations. Some passengers with minor scrapes and bruises were treated at a local hospital.

Since the Galaxy A21 has been on the market for more than a year and no similar incidents of the phone catching fire have been reported, it doesn't look like a manufacturing defect was the cause of the fire. Ever since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung has significantly improved its safety standards, and all new Galaxy phones go through an 8-point battery safety check.

As noted by The Verge, isolated incidents of phone batteries catching fire aren't extremely rare. In October last year, an Apple iPhone XR caught fire aboard a British Airways flight from Miami to Heathrow after being trapped in the seat mechanism.

More recently, a new OnePlus Nord 2 phone's battery exploded just days after purchase. Shortly after, OnePlus issued an official statement saying that the damages were caused by "an isolated incident involving external factors and not due to manufacturing issues." Some of Xiaomi's best cheap Android phones have also been reported to have spontaneously caught fire in the recent past.

Android Central has reached out to Samsung for a comment on the incident.

Babu Mohan
Babu Mohan
11 Comments
  • Did it catch fire or explode? First para, states, "caught fire," third para IMPLIES could be an explosion, "similar incidents of the phone exploding have been reported." BIG difference between a phone catching fire vs. a phone actually exploding. Who ever wrote the story should clean it up or get better information. All other articles I have read state it JUST CAUGHT FIRE. And if people don't believe there is a difference between catching fire and exploding, you have a lot to learn.
  • Lithium batteries; they are not safe. But there isn't an alternative with the same energy density, so we use em anyway!
  • Batteries on airplanes are hazardous cargo; period. The only way (and it's really quite simple) to eliminate the risk associated with them is to ban personal electronic devices on airplanes.
    But apparently, people are more worried about catching a cold on a plane, than burning alive at 30,000ft. Go figure. 🤨
  • If you're implying that COVID is "catching a cold" not only are you ignorant but you are mistaken. The cold hasn't killed 700,000 Americans in 17 months nor has it killed 4.5 million people worldwide. The cold has also never filled up our ICUs beyond capacity with people struggling to breathe. I've seen your horses*t take on the pandemic all over these threads and it's asinine the AC mods allow them to stay.
  • AGREED with your reply to PookiePrancer!
  • Yeah, pretty dumb take all around. Probably just bait though...
  • Most of those numbers are very much conservative estimates. Third world countries do a horrible job at collecting and reporting data. Even in the US people who have mild and moderate cases often ride it out at home without seeking medical care or being tested. Pookie also doesnt seem aware of all the people who have been gravely ill but survived forever damaged. Those I think are the sadest.
  • This is truly rich: "it doesn't look like a manufacturing defect was the cause of the fire."
    Then what was it...the phone got mad at being a phone and decided to commit suicide?
    OF COURSE it was a manufacturing defect "somewhere"...whether the phone, or the battery itself having the defect...the fact is this...there WAS a defect somewhere in this phone! Now whether it was Samsung, or the battery maker, or both is up to an investigation before more of these things decide to off themselves.
  • It's more that the battery got tired of being a battery. Lithium cells are ironically quite unstable.
  • Since its been released over a year, it could have been dropped many times. People don't take care of their shi t. They throw their phone in their back pocket and sit on it. I don't get it.
  • Uh oh not again