It has been revealed that a passenger was using her personal noise-cancelling headphones on a flight from China to Melbourne on February 19. About two hours into the flight the women was woken by an explosion in the headphone that subsequently caught fire and burnt her head and hands.
“I continued to feel burning so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor,” she said in a statement issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). “They were sparking and had small amounts of fire.
“As I went to stamp my foot on them the flight attendants were already there with a bucket of water to pour on them.”
The cabin staff acted swiftly putting the headphones in a bucket of water and cooling the passenger’s burns.
The battery and cover melted and stuck to the floor of the plane, the ATSB said, and the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and burnt hair filled the cabin for the rest of the flight.
Stuart Godley from the ATSB said “There is a bit more of a fire risk for lithium batteries than for other batteries. If you’re carrying spare batteries always have them in your carry-on baggage,” he said.
“Never put them in the cargo hold because if they do catch fire or short circuit and there are other batteries nearby, they can get thermal runaway where each of the batteries catches on fire.