Passengers Evacuate Departing Aircraft When Passenger’s Cell Phone Charger Catches Fire

A Ryanair flight from Barcelona to Ibiza had just pushed back Tuesday late afternoon when a passenger’s cell phone which was being charged by an external battery, caught fire. Everyone was evacuated down emergency slides and onto the tarmac.

The only injuries were incurred on the slide with passengers falling over each other to get out and incurring burns from friction across the slide. Here’s video of the evacuation:

Many of the reports on this incident are of an explosion which isn’t really accurate, the device simply caught fire. Here’s video from inside the cabin with the phone on fire on the cabin floor.

A post shared by Anthony Carrio (@anthcarrio) on

The flames were put out with water from onboard the aircraft. According to the airline,

The passengers of a flight from Barcelona to Ibiza were evacuated in an emergency at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport because of a fire in a mobile phone that was being charged with an external battery.

All the passengers were evacuated from the aircraft in a safe way to the terminal and the cabin crew took charge of the device.

Last year the US federal government was requiring lithium ion batteries from devices such as laptops to be checked as luggage on many flights to the States, placing dangerous items in a part of the aircraft where fires such as this cannot easily be extinguished.

(HT: Ken A.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ve been caught off guard at China domestic airport security with battery packs. Apparently they are very strict on labeling and capacity limits. Gary — you know I love dishing unsolicited blog topics — maybe this could make it into a practical travel tip/advice post in the future.

  2. The slide evacuation seemed to go relatively well, with people waiting at the bottom to assist others. I imagine it’s much more chaotic if there is a lot of fire and smoke, injured/dazed passengers, and perhaps crash debris all around.

  3. Way to go ryanair. A slow and controlled evacuation would have prevented many of those injuries but instead they created a total panic and were shoving people out the door frantically. Maybe train your staff to help keep people calm in the future?

  4. I want to know what phone this was too?

    I know that even the new Samsung phone has been reported to be burning even when turned off. Media has been quiet about this…no surprise because Samsung spends so much on advertising.

  5. It’s not actually clear in the video if it was the phone or the charger pack that caught fire. They both contain the necessary components to catch fire, and many of those charger packs are very cheaply made.

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