Travel

Passenger's smartphone catches fire as plane prepares to take off

Business Insider US
Smoke began billowing from the smartphone shortly before takeoff.
Insider
  • A Wizz Air passenger's phone caught fire just before take-off.
  • The incident happened on Friday as the jet taxied to the runway at Budapest airport.
  • A passenger on the flight told Insider they saw smoke and alerted crew members.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A passenger's phone caught fire on a Wizz Air jet just minutes before it took off from Budapest airport, forcing the pilot to abandon the flight. 

The plane was taxiing to the runway for the flight to Malmö in Sweden when passengers noticed smoke billowing from a Chinese-branded smartphone.

The plane turned around and returned to the terminal so that all passengers could get off. Their luggage was also removed. 

Eniko Varga, 53, was one passenger on the flight. She told Insider the crew responded calmly to the incident and knew exactly how to handle it, reassuring those on board.

"We knew when we saw smoke that we wouldn't be able to get the last train and thus be stuck at the airport in Malmö,"  she said.

According to Varga, the crew taped over the patch of carpet burnt by the phone as shown in this picture:

Wizz crew taped over the singed patch of carpet.
Insider

Only two passengers decided not to get back on board to continue their journey, however. 

It was not clear what caused the phone to catch fire or which company made it.

In August last year crew on an Alaska Airlines flight from New Orleans to Seattle had to use fire extinguishers when a Samsung Galaxy phone overheated and "began sparking" after the plane had landed, a spokesperson said.

Passengers had to use slides to escape as the cabin had become hazy from the smoke.

Wizz Air was contacted for comment and Budapest airport declined to comment. 

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