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Smoke from a Samsung Phone in Flight on an Indian Airline Raises Alarm

Smoke from a Samsung Phone in Flight on an Indian Airline Raises Alarm
India's aviation regulator said that while there was no damage and the aircraft landed safely, a Samsung Electronics smartphone stored in an overhead baggage compartment on an Indian plane did emit smoke in mid-flight on Friday.
The airline, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, said in an emailed statement that the cabin crew of an IndiGo airline flight saw sparks and smoke coming from a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone after passengers on board smelled smoke coming from the baggage bin and alerted the cabin crew.
The airline said that the flight crew used a fire extinguisher on the phone and put it in a container filled with water.
The IndiGo flight was on its way to Chennai from Singapore.
While the airline said there had been no fire, the regulator described the incident as a case of suspected fire.
Fears for the future of Samsung’s flagship device the new Note 7 were raised after allegations of faulty batteries causing the devices to catch fire while charging or in normal use which caused Samsung to recall Note 7 phones across the globe this month. With the Note 2 model, first released in 2012, there have been no previous reports of similar problems.
In an emailed statement, a company spokesman said that Samsung is looking into Friday's incident. "We are in touch with relevant authorities to gather more information," he said.
Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, did not confirm if the device is a Note 2.
A spokesman for the India's aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said that warnings about  avoid carrying the phones on commercial jets altogether or at least to keep all Samsung Note smartphones switched off during flights would be sent to the airlines warning passengers.
To discuss the incident, the DGCA has called Samsung representatives to its office in New Delhi on Monday.
Warnings have been issued to air travelers to keep Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones turned off and unplugged during flights by regulators and airlines in several countries, including the United States and China.
Samsung Electronics, which had tried to pre-empt rival Apple Inc by launching the almost $900 Note 7 on Aug. 19, about a month ahead of the latest iPhone release, saw billions of dollars being knocked off the market value due to the problems with the Note 7.
Previous guidance stating passengers should inform cabin crew if any electronic device is damaged, hot, produces smoke, is lost, or falls into the seats was referred to by a spokesman for Europe’s air safety regulator, the European Aviation Safety Agency, when asked about the incident in India. When on board airlines should tell passengers not to turn on or charge their Galaxy Note 7s, it has advised airlines.
Later Samsung Electronics said that it is aware of an incident involving one of its devices. "We are in touch with relevant authorities to gather more information, and are looking into the matter," the spokesman for the company said in an emailed statement.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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