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iPhone self-combusts on plane

Regional Express

Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET

There are plenty of "no smoking" signs plastered throughout airplane cabins, but that didn't stop one iPhone from self-combusting on a flight heading from Lismore to Sydney recently. No one was hurt, but quite a few folks are likely to be glancing at their mobile devices with some fear now.

According to Regional Express, one of Australia's largest independent regional airlines, the incident occurred on Nov. 25. Regional Express flight ZL319 was en route to Sydney when a passenger's iPhone "started emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow."

A flight attendant reportedly followed "standard safety procedures" right away and the red glow was extinguished. The incident was reported to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the device was handed over to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for analysis.

There is no further information available at this time, but we have reached out to both Apple and Regional Express to see if they have any statements to add. We will update this story if (or when) we hear back.

In the meantime, we are left wondering what could've caused an iPhone 4 — a GSM-version of the device, based on the image provided by Regional Express — to take up smoking.

Peer pressure could certainly be the culprit as there have been reports of iPod devices — the iPhone's not-so-distant relatives — combusting in the past. (It is also worth noting that Apple recently issued a recall of the first generation iPod Nano because its battery "may overheat and pose a safety risk" in rare instances.)

Until there's further information or a detailed analysis of the flight ZL319 incident though, we're not going to worry about the whole thing too much though — after all, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) certainly wouldn't let us carry iPhones onto flights if they posed a bigger risk than nail-clippers, right?

Update: Natalie Harrison, director of global iPhone and iPad public relations at Apple, gave us a call to say that the company looks forward "to working with the officials investigating to this incident."

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