back to top

This Woman's Headphones Exploded Mid-Flight

"As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face."

Posted on

A woman has suffered burns to her face and hands after her headphones exploded while she was listening to music on a flight.


On a recent flight from Beijing to Melbourne, the woman was listening to music using the battery-powered headphones. About two hours in, she heard a loud explosion.

“As I went to turn around I felt burning on my face. I just grabbed my face, which caused the headphones to go around my neck," she said in a statement issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

“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."

"As I went to stamp my foot on them the flight attendants were already there with a bucket of water to pour on them. They put them into the bucket at the rear of the plane."


The brand of the headphones is unknown.

The ATSB believes the headphone batteries, which had melted and were stuck to the floor of the plane, had caught on fire.

The woman said that for the rest of the flight, the smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics, and burnt hair lingered in the cabin.

“People were coughing and choking the entire way home,” she said.


The ATSB warned passengers with battery-operated devices to stow them correctly and to keep spares in carry-on, not checked, baggage.

It also said that if a passenger loses a battery-powered device on a flight, they should immediately contact the cabin crew.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.