iPhone explodes on Aussie flight

Posted by Emma Woollacott

An Australian airline has confirmed that an iPhone 4 became red-hot, shattered and started pouring out smoke on a flight from Lismore to Sydney on Friday.

Regional Express (Rex) says that, after flight ZL319 landed, a passenger’s phone started emitting clouds of of dense smoke, and started to glow.

"In accordance with company standard safety procedures, the flight attendant carried out recovery actions immediately and the red glow was extinguished successfully," says Rex.

"All passengers and crew on board were unharmed."

The airline says it's reported the incident to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as well as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for investigation.

The phone itself - which is now shattered from the heat around the battery - has been handed over to the ATSB for analysis.

Apple is no stranger to overheating and expoding batteries. Recently, batteries on early versions of the iPod Nano were found to be at risk of overheating, with one exploding on a packed commuter train in Japan.

And two years ago the EU launched an investigation after similar reports of iPhones and iPod Touches catching fire.

But it's by no means the only vendor to have trouble with overheating lithium batteries, a problem already acknowledged by CASA: it advises air passengers that electronic items containing them should be held in carry-on luggage only, and kept in separate bags.