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Apple Blames Exploding Beats Headphones Incident On Third-Party Batteries

International Business Times logo International Business Times 3 days ago Denisse Moreno

© Provided by IBT US Apple has blamed third-party batteries for an explosion of Beats By Dre headphones that burned a woman’s face while she was sleeping on a flight in February, according to the Australian Associated Press.

The Australian woman, who asked not to be identified, was traveling from Beijing to Melbourne, Australia when she woke up two hours into the flight to the sound of her headphones exploding and a burning sensation. The woman’s face, hands and hair were burned during the incident.

She was looking to get reimbursement for her headphones and ruined clothing, but Apple said the incident was not due to product defects.

"Our investigation indicated the issue was caused by a third-party battery," the Cupertino company said in a statement shared by the woman's lawyers.

The woman said she bought the batteries in Australia.

"The headphones don't work without batteries, yet nowhere on the headphones - or their packaging - did it specify which brand of batteries should be used," she said.

The battery and cover of the headphones were melted and stuck on the floor of the airplane.

“I continued to feel burning so I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire," the woman said back in February. "As I went to stamp my foot on them the flight attendants were already there with a bucket of water to pour on them. They put them into the bucket at the rear of the plane.”

The incident sparked chaos among passengers traveling on the aircraft. The smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and burnt hair filled the airplane, with people “coughing and choking the entire way home.”

After the incident, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) reminded travelers of safety precautions when using battery-powered devices.

The Bureau recommended:

- Batteries should be kept in an approved stowage, unless in use

- Spare batteries must be in your carry-on baggage NOT checked baggage

- If a passenger’s smartphone or other device has fallen into the seat gap, locate their device before moving powered seat.

- If a passenger cannot locate their device, they should refrain from moving their seat and immediately contact a cabin crew member.

Apple’s blame on third-party batteries comes after Samsung Galaxy Note 7 devices were globally recalled last year after the phones were found to cause battery fires. The Galaxy Note 7 failure cost Samsung $5.3 billion in operating profit.

In October 2016, a Galaxy Note 7 replacement burst into flames on a Southwest Airlines flight. After the incident, the devices were banned from all U.S. aircrafts by the U.S. Department of Transportation, with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Regulators said passengers with the Note 7 would be denied boarding a flight, and could face fines and even criminal prosecution if they were found to have violated the ban.

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