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Phones

This is what happens when a phone charger explodes on a plane

Commentary: In Russia, video shows that no one panics, as a fire gently burns beneath the seats of an Airbus A320.

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


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A flaming nuisance?

JCB TV & Aviation Videos/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

From time to time, we hear stories of phone batteries exploding.

Sometimes, they cause injury. Sometimes, they cause the phone to be taken off the market.

And sometimes, phone batteries explode on planes.

It's not often, though, that we get footage of a portable phone charger suffering a similar malfunction. 

However, someone flying with Aeroflot from Moscow to Volgograd, Russia on Jan. 30 captured the scene.

Oddly, Russia's RIA Novosti reports that Aeroflot says there was merely smoke, but no fire. 

Yet the footage tells a slightly different tale.

Flames can clearly be seen coming from something on the floor after the plane has landed. 

What can also be seen is that no one appears to be panicking. 

Instead, there's some coughing and a seeming fascination with the curious fire.

One passenger even offers a bottle of water to help douse the problem.

Flight crew eventually extinguish the flames and remove the offending charger in what looks like an ice bucket.

It's all curiously matter-of-fact, save for the kink, RIA Novosti says, that two passengers released the emergency chutes of their own accord.

An Aeroflot spokesman still insisted that there was smoke without fire. 

"As passengers were disembarking following a routine landing, a portable power bank belonging to one of the passengers began emitting white smoke. The smoke was immediately put out by cabin crew, and all passengers calmly disembarked as normal using regular airstairs. There were no injuries," he told me.

Perhaps it's a little different if the fire happens when the plane is already on the ground, and people can see an escape route, than when it happens in midair.

Still, it's never a good thing when electronics explode, as they occasionally do. The problem is that you never know when it might happen.

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