Cause of smoking iPhone on REX airplane: Unauthorized repair outfit’s botched screen-replacement

“An investigation into an iPhone that started spewing black smoke on a Regional Express (REX) flight last year has revealed the reason for the incident,” Luke Hopewell reports for ZDNet Australia.

“Flight crew on a trip from Lismore to Sydney last November noticed that black smoke had begun erupting from an iPhone, which had to be quickly put out with a fire extinguisher,” Hopewell reports. “The phone was sent to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as part of an investigation into the matter, which has now revealed that a misplaced screw punctured the battery casing, leading to a short circuit that caused the battery to overheat.”

Hopewell reports, “The screw that caused the issue was the result of a botched screen-replacement job from a non-authorised service centre… Chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan… warned against using unauthorised service agents for device repairs. ‘The incident also highlights the importance of good maintenance and repair processes for these devices, and the risk of using non-authorised repair agents.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple not responsible.

Related article:
Apple iPhone 4 reportedly starts smoking on Regional Express airplane after landing in Sydney – November 28, 2011

20 Comments

      1. It’s about time there was legislation specifying that retractions and follow-ups must be assigned prominence equal to that given the original story.
        Being from this planet, though, I have no illusions about its likelihood of happening…

  1. So iPhone’s battery is not shielded from such punctures, yet phone is held together by screws? How would Apple’s lawyers defend against that? Hey, if a woman opens a McDonalds hot cup of coffee in a moving car by holding it between her legs and gets burned, sues and wins… And people complained that the battery was non-removeable.

    Like this mistake can’t happen from an authorized repair outfit?! Just looking out for my stock investment… oh, and Apple of course!

    1. Please educate yourself before opening your mouth. A trained Apple technician knows that you cannot interchange screws of different lengths. Put a longer screw in the wrong spot and this is what happens. It’s in the tech bulletins that the fly-by-night shops don’t receive.

      As for the hot coffee lawsuit, McD’s was serving coffee at over 200 deg F, hot enough to melt the cups it came in. They’d already settled roughly 5000 such claims quietly, out of court, with non-disclosure agreements so the public wouldn’t find out. That’s gross negligence, if not willful disregard for the public’s safety. They deserved to pay hefty punitive damages.

  2. I bet a lot ‘dangerous malfunctioning’ electronics stories are due to people mishandling their devices.

    People plug in electronics to wrong chargers, get them soaked in the rain or bathtubs, drop them so that the internal components like batteries are damaged, go to unauthorized repair guys (like the story above) or even to that ‘geek 14 year old that lives in the basement next door’.

    I read a blog once from a computer repair guys some years ago with the astonishing stories he had, for example one old lady brought in a PC with the ‘drink coaster’ damaged and she can’t put her coffee on it anymore (i. e the CD eject tray, apparently she had one that didn’t auto insert after a while.)….

    But of course the sensationalist press will ALWAYS blame Apple without investigating.

    1. My wife was once an Apple service tech and also did phone support. Her best story is about the guy who couldn’t get a mini-floppy out of the slot so he used butter as lubrication and a butter knife to try to pry it out.

  3. And the name of the unauthorised service centre is…

    Shouldn’t these geniuses be given their 15min worth of fame especially since it’s been well earned through notoriety?

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