Headphones explode mid-flight burning woman's face, hair and hand

An airline passenger was left with a burnt and blackened face, burnt hair and a blistered hand when her battery-powered headphones exploded during a flight to Melbourne.

The un-named passenger's story has been shared by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau with a warning about headphones and other battery-operated devices on airplanes.

The ATSB has concealed the woman's identity but images of her face and hand show the damage done when her headphones blew up while she slept two hours into the flight from Beijing to Melbourne.

"As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face," she said.

The headphones exploded on the woman's head while she slept. Source: ATSB
The headphones exploded on the woman's head while she slept. Source: ATSB

"I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck.

"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."

Flight attendants rushed to the woman with a bucket of water to pour on the burning headphones.

The woman was left with a burnt face, hair and hand. Source: ATSB
The woman was left with a burnt face, hair and hand. Source: ATSB

* Samsung blames Galaxy Note 7 fires on faulty batteries

They then placed the burnt and smouldering electronics into the bucket and moved it to the back of the plane before returning to check on the passenger's wellbeing.

The headphones' battery and cover had melted and become stuck to the plane's floor, the ABST report states.

Passengers had to endure the smell of burnt hair, melted plastic and fried electronics for the remainder of the flight to Melbourne.


"People were coughing and choking the entire way home," the woman said.

The woman's experience came with a safety warning from the safety bureau regarding battery-operated electronics.

Although the brand and make of the headphones was not mentioned, ATSB assessed that it was likely the batteries that caught fire, warning passengers to keep their devices in approved stowage areas when not in use on flights.

It warns that spare batteries must be kept in carry-on luggage, not in checked baggage.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was recalled after wide-ranging battery faults.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was recalled after wide-ranging battery faults.

Passengers are also warned to retrieve phones and other battery devices if they fall between seats before operating electrical-powered seats and to call a flight attendant immediately if the devices cannot be reached.

The headphones explosion comes only six months after Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was banned from being taken on planes due to its penchant for catching fire.

The South Korean electronics giant recalled 3.1 million devices, later determining that "batteries were found to be the cause of the Note 7 incidents".

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting