The headphone of a female air traveller caught fire on an Australia-bound plane and suffered burns in her face and hands.
Australian officials reported on Wednesday as they warned about the dangers of battery-operated devices in-flight.
The passenger was listening to music on her own battery-operated headphones as she dozed about two hours into the trip from Beijing to Melbourne on February 19 when there was a loud explosion.
“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face,” the woman said “I grabbed them off and threw them on the floor. They were sparking and had small amounts of fire.”
“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face,” she told the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) which investigated the incident, AFP reported on Wednesday.
“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 help and poured a bucket of water on the headphones, but the battery and its cover had both melted and stuck to the floor.
Fellow passengers had to endure the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and singed hair for the remainder of the flight.
“People were coughing and choking the entire way home,” the woman added.
The transport safety bureau, which did not identify the airline or brand of headphones involved in the incident, said the lithium-ion batteries in the device likely caught fire.
“As the range of products using batteries grows, the potential for in-flight issues increases,” it said, adding that such devices needed to be stored safely if they were not being used.
The ATSB’s Stuart Godley said it was the first report of headphones catching fire in Australia, but there have been a number of other phone and device battery incidents.