Update, October 6: Samsung issued a statement on the incident:
Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.
In the meantime, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the US government body that oversees consumer safety recalls, told The Verge that it’s looking into the issue:
CPSC is moving expeditiously to investigate this incident. Thankfully, reports indicate that all of the passengers were able to make it off the plane without harm. Agency staff has already reached out to the FAA and Samsung to gather the facts about the incident.”
Original post, October 5: Samsung is facing yet another overheating phone problem, only this time with a unit it claimed was safe.
Talking to The Verge, Brian Green said his Samsung Galaxy Note 7 began smoking on a Southwest Airlines flight waiting to take off from Louisville to Baltimore earlier this morning. All crew and passengers exited the plane with no reported injuries, and Southwest Airlines canceled the flight and placed passengers on later flights.
Now, we don’t talk about exploding phones as much as we did when the Note 7 recall first came about, but this scenario is special. Green’s Galaxy Note 7 was a replacement unit, one that Samsung deemed safe. Green picked up his replacement Note 7 at an AT&T store on September 21, and confirmed the unit did have the small, black square symbol on the box along with a green battery icon, indicating the phone was safe to use.
Green said while the plane was still at the gate, he had powered down his phone, which had an 80 percent charge, and put it in his pocket, only to realize it was starting to smoke. He dropped it on the floor and a “thick grey-green angry smoke” began pouring out of it. The phone ended up burning through the plane’s carpet and scorched the subfloor of the plane, according to Green’s colleague. Green has only used a wireless charger with the device since he got his replacement.
A 'thick grey-green angry smoke' began pouring out of the Note 7 before burning through the plane's carpet
The Verge ran the overheated Galaxy Note 7’s IMEI through Samsung’s recall eligibility checker to make sure it was indeed safe, and the website said the phone was not affected by the recall.
There are a few things worth noting here. Unfortunately phones explode and overheat relatively often, more so than we’d like them to. Phones that aren’t part of a widespread issue have overheating problems all the time, but because this is a Galaxy Note 7, obviously a lot of people are going to pay attention. It doesn’t necessarily mean Samsung is doing a poor job at fixing its recalled phones – this could just be a fluke, for all we know – though it’s still something worth noting.
Samsung has yet to issue a statement about the incident, but it’ll be interesting to see what the company says.