2016’s Biggest Airline Safety Risk Is Crushed, Lost Phones

Damaged and lost phones have been nominated as the biggest dangerous goods safety risk in 2016 by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

CASA said in a statement that smart phones can fall into aircraft seat mechanisms and get crushed when the seat is moved. The resulting damage to the phone’s powerful lithium battery can cause overheating and even fire on board an aircraft.

The aviation authority said there’d been nine recent emergency events as a result of crushed phones, and that airlines are now briefing those of us who are flying this Christmas to not move our seat if we drop our phone while sitting on a plane.


“Passengers must remember never to move their seat if a phone goes missing while inflight,” CASA’s statement said, “and to always ask the aircraft cabin crew for assistance.

“If a phone is damaged, cabin crew should be alerted immediately.”

CASA added that any spare batteries must be taken in carry-on baggage with the battery terminals protected to minimise the risk of fire.