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Southwest Airlines flight 944 from Louisville to Baltimore was evacuated this morning while still at the gate because of a smoking Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. All passengers and crew exited the plane via the main cabin door and no injuries were reported, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson told The Verge.
More worryingly, the phone in question was a replacement Galaxy Note 7, one that was deemed to be safe by Samsung. The Verge spoke to Brian Green, owner of the Note 7, on the phone earlier today and he confirmed that he had picked up the new phone at an AT&T store on September 21st. A photograph of the box shows the black square symbol that indicates a replacement Note 7 and Green said it had a green battery icon.
Green said that he had powered down the phone as requested by the flight crew and put it in his pocket when it began smoking. He dropped it on the floor of the plane and a "thick grey-green angry smoke" was pouring out of the device. Green's colleague went back onto the plane to retrieve some personal belongings and said that the phone had burned through the carpet and scorched the subfloor of the plane.
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He said the phone was at around 80 percent of battery capacity when the incident occurred and that he only used a wireless charger since receiving the device.
Southwest Airlines canceled the flight and is rebooking passengers, including Green, on later flights. The Verge has been in contact with Samsung, but the company did not yet have a comment about the incident.
Green's Note 7 is in the hands of the Louisville Fire Department's arson unit for investigation. He has already replaced it with an iPhone 7.