Woman's battery-operated headphones catch fire mid-flight

The woman was woken up during the Beijing to Melbourne flight when she heard an explosion and felt burning on her face

Woman's battery-operated headphones catch fire mid-flight

Image: Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Australian safety officials have issued a warning after a woman's battery-operated headphones apparently caught on fire during a flight.

The incident happened around two hours into a flight from Beijing to Melbourne.

She had been sleeping, but she was woken up by the sound of an explosion and a burning feeling on her face.

“I just grabbed my face which caused the headphones to go around my neck," she explained.

“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."

She attempted to stamp the fire out while flight attendants rushed over with a bucket of water.

The headphones were placed in the bucket at the back of the plane, but the battery and cover stuck to floor after melting.

Photos show the woman experienced significant singeing on her face & neck, as well as a small burn on her hand.

She explained that  “people were coughing and choking the entire way home" as a result of the smell of burnt hair, melted plastic, and burnt electronics.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) says it is likely that the batteries in the device caught on fire.

The ATSB has issued a warning to passengers following the incident, stressing that batteries should be kept in an approved stowage unless they're in use. They also warn that any spare batteries should be brought on in carry-on luggage.

"If a passenger cannot locate their device, they should refrain from moving their seat and immediately contact a cabin crew member," they add.