Federal regulators are moving quickly to investigate the replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 that caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight today, with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission "moving expeditiously" to find out what happened.
“CPSC is moving expeditiously to investigate this incident," said a emailed statement from Commission Chairman Elliot F. Kaye sent to The Verge. "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." The CPSC will also talk to Brian Green, the owner of the phone who spoke to The Verge earlier today "who experienced a serious incident with his phone" according to the statement.
Kaye reiterated his request that consumers "who have the recalled Galaxy Note7 to keep their smartphones powered down and to immediately take advantage of the remedies being offered by Samsung," noting that one of those remedies is a full refund.
During the airplane safety presentation, Green powered down his phone as requested by the flight attendants, but moments later it began smoking heavily and he dropped the phone on the floor of the Southwest Boeing 737. The plane was promptly and safely evacuated and the flight, scheduled to travel from Louisville to Baltimore, was cancelled.
Most concerning was the revelation that the phone had already been replaced by Samsung and should not have had any issues with the battery. Though there have been reports of replacement phones having issues internationally, this appears to be the first incident to happen within the United States.
If the phone turns out to be a replacement device (as it certainly appears to), the news could be disastrous for Samsung which has already spent untold sums of money recalling and replacing Note 7 devices around the world. It’s possible that this could result in an additional recall of replacement phones and it would likely test the patience of consumers and regulators already frustrated with the slow pace of the rollout and the lack of timely communications from Samsung.