Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Ignites On Southwest Plane, U.S. Launches New Investigation

Samsung's nightmare scenario with its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 launch continues as yet another handset—this time a replacement phone that's supposed to be unaffected by the original recall—overheated and emitted heavy smoke. It happened on a grounded Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 that was scheduled to travel from Louisville to Baltimore.

The crew was able to evacuate all passengers on board through the plane's main cabin door. There were no injuries reported, though it's the aftermath that could be the most damaging in a number of ways, most relating to Samsung. Federal regulators and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have both launched an investigation to determine how and why this happened.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

"CPSC is moving expeditiously to investigate this incident," Commission Chairman Elliot F. Kaye told The Verge. "Thankfully, reports indicate that all of the passengers were able to make it off the plane without harm. Agency staff has already reached out to the FAA and Samsung to gather the facts about the incident."

The CPSC also plans to talk with Brian Green, the owner of the phone that caused the evacuation. Initial reports say Green powered down his Galaxy Note 7 just as flight attendants instructed, but that it began smoking not longer after. That's when he pulled the phone out of his pocket and dropped it on the ground. He described a "think gray-green angry smoke" coming from the device as it burned the plane's carpet and charred the subfloor underneath.

What's most disturbing about this incident is that it happened to what appears to be a replacement handset as part of the original recall. Green says he picked up the new phone at an AT&T store on September 21st. Pictures he took of the handset and retail packaging show the correct markings for a replacement phone with a new battery that's not supposed to be affected by the recall.

If it does turn out to be a replacement phone, it could have far reaching implications. Obviously Samsung would be negatively affected, both short-term as it deals with a second recall (if it comes to that) and long-term if consumer confidence in the brand wanes. But it could also prompt the overly cautious FAA to reinstate and create new rules for electronic devices on airplanes.

Stay tuned, we'll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops.