Apple, FAA Investigating After iPhone Catches Fire Mid-Flight

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By Safia Samee Ali

The FAA and Apple are investigating after a teenager's iPhone burst into flames mid-air on a flight to Hawaii.

Spring-break-bound sophomore Anna Crail was watching a movie on Thursday when her iPhone spontaneously caught fire over the Pacific. “All of a sudden there was like 8-inch flames coming out of my phone,” she told KOMO News.

The teen panicked, telling KOMO that she thought the plane “was going down.” “I flipped it off onto the ground, and it got under someone’s seat, and the flames were just getting higher, and a bunch of people stood up,” she said.

The Alaska Airlines flight was carrying 163 passengers from Bellingham, Washington.

The flight crew managed to put out the fire, and no injuries were reported.

It is unknown what caused the seemingly innocuous phone to catch fire. But a similar incident occurred last year when a teen’s iPhone burst into fire on her way to school. And just this past December, an Atlanta man’s iPhone caught fire in his pocket. Experts say the cause could be the phone's lithium battery overheating.

Although it would be difficult to enforce a no-phones ban on most flights, if such incidents increase then airlines -- or manufacturers -- may have to come up with a solution to ensure passenger safety.