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iPhone bursts into flames on flight, owner thought plane would crash

Technically Incorrect: An Alaska Air flight on its way to Hawaii sees a troubling occurrence. The iPhone 6's owner says there were 8-inch flames.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Charred, not charged.

KOMO News screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There are many ways of inflaming passengers on today's claustrophobically cramped airlines.

Anna Crail, however, managed it in quite a novel and inadvertent way.

She was flying from Bellingham, Washington to Hawaii with Alaska Air on Thursday. It's spring break, don't you know.

Suddenly she started to emit flames. Well, her iPhone 6 did.

"When it started I thought we were going down, and I was like, 'oh my god, there's a fire on the plane,'" she told KOMO News.

The fire, it seems, came from her own phone. And the plane was 90 minutes from Honolulu, over the Pacific Ocean.

"All of the sudden there was like 8-inch flames coming out of my phone," she told KOMO. "And I flipped it off onto the ground and it got under someone's seat, and the flames were just getting higher and a bunch of people stood up."

One imagines they did. It's not every day you see flames on a plane. Snakes, certainly. But not flames.

The Federal Aviation Administration told me that it's investigating the incident. A spokesman added that the Boeing 737 landed safely, with no damage to humans or machine. Other than the iPhone, that is.

Alaska Air and Apple didn't immediately reply to requests for comment.

Reports of flaming phones have occurred from time to time over the years.

This isn't even the first time a phone has burst into flames on a flight. Five years, a passenger on an Australian flight suddenly noticed his iPhone began to glow and emit smoke.

Phones do occasionally catch fire, with the causes not always being entirely obvious. Last year, an eighth-grader in Maine suddenly heard a pop from her iPhone and her back pocket began to smoke. Two years ago, a Hong Kong man blamed his Samsung Galaxy S4 for burning his house down.

Fingers get pointed at overheating batteries and, when a phone blows up while charging overnight, unauthorized chargers.

Such incidents are rare. In Crail's case, the fire was quickly put out with the help of the crew.

I wonder if anything on Crail's spring break was as exciting as her flight.