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US Government bans carriage of Samsung Galaxy Note 7s on aircraft

17 October 2016

The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order on October 14 imposing a total ban on carrying Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones onto aircraft in the USA, even if they are switched off and powered down. Airline passengers caught with the recalled devices at US airports could face criminal charges and fines, the order said.

Delta aircraft on the apron at JFK - Shutterstock
Delta aircraft on the apron at JFK - Shutterstock

Samsung officially discontinued production of the Note 7 after increasing numbers of the phones, including replacement models, caught fire or exploded. They have caused aircraft evacuations, house fires and a number of injuries, and are the subject of a massive recall operation.

“We recognize that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.”

A Department Of Transport release said:  “Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident. Anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines.”

The government now considers Note 7s to be “forbidden hazardous material” under US law, the DOT release said.

This action by regulators follows the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s announcement on October 12 that it was almost doubling the number of Note 7 phones covered under the US government-sanctioned recall. The consumer agency has received 96 reports of overheating batteries in the US, including 23 since the first recall was announced on September 15.

At least 13 people reported being burned by the devices and in 47 cases there was damage to property, according to the CPSC.

CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said the fire hazard with the original and replacement Note 7s was too great for anyone to ignore the official recall.

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