Samsung recently announced that it has recovered over 60 percent of the exploding Galaxy Note 7s. The recalled products were replaced with supposedly safe Note 7s. If you thought the replacement smartphones were any better, think again. Earlier this week, a Southwest Airlines flight was evacuated because of a “smoking” Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.
Panic on the Plane
Authorities evacuated a SA Flight 994 flying from Louisville to Baltimore in the morning right at the gate. An on-board passenger had tried to charge his Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which had begun to smoke. No injuries or damage was reported before the plane was emptied.
What’s truly startling is that the smoking Note 7 in question was not a defective one. It was a replacement smartphone handed out by Samsung in place of the recalled phones.
The owner of the smoking Note 7, Brian Green told media that he had replaced his original Note 7 with a new one at an AT&T store. Green showed the box the smartphone came in with a black square symbol and a green battery icon to indicate that it was a safe replacement Note 7.
Once on the plane, Green had wirelessly charged and then powered down the Note 7 as requested by the crew before the plane took off. When he put the smartphone in his pocket, it had begun to smoke. In panic, Green had dropped the phone onto the floor as it gave off “thick grey-green angry smoke.” Later, Green’s friends went back on board to grab carry-on luggage and saw that the smartphone had burnt a hole through the carpet onto the subfloor of the plane.
The Note 7 had around 80 percent of battery power when the incident occurred. Samsung’s recall eligibility checker says the phone, after running the IMEI, is perfectly safe and does not need replacing.
Samsung’s Recall Nightmare Continues
The Note 7 recall was a huge embarrassment for Samsung. The company had bet on the Note 7 to compete well against the iPhone 7. The smartphone was doing quite well until the explosions started to occur, causing Samsung possibly millions in profit losses.
The company had only now begun to recover from the recall. Samsung was even confident enough to announce new products earlier this month.
However, if replacement Note 7 phones are also catching fire, then Samsung is facing a major scandal and a regulatory nightmare.
The initial recall for the Note 7 was prompted by numerous reports of exploding phones worldwide. Internal investigations by Samsung revealed that some of the smartphones shipped contained a defective lithium-ion battery. The batteries in question were sourced from South Korea, and were wired erroneously, making them prone to going up in flames during charge sessions.
Samsung recalled all Note 7 phones sold globally to be on the safe side. It was widely believed that the replacement phones were safe.
Samsung has been reluctant to offer an explanation for the Southwest Airlines incident. The company disbelievingly told media that it could “neither confirm nor deny” that the smoking phone in question was indeed a Note 7 until Samsung retrieves the phone.
The smoking phone is currently in the custody of the Louisville Fire Department arson unit. The phone will be handed over to the authorities for further investigations. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is set to open an investigation into the incident.