Plane passenger badly burnt when headphones explode mid-air

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Headphones explode on board flight

An airline passenger was left with horrific injuries to her face after her battery-operated headphones exploded during a flight.

The unidentified woman's face and hands were left blackened and blistered and her hair singed following the shocking incident.

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She has told how she heard a loud explosion and felt a burning sensation on her face before throwing the headphones onto the floor as they sparked and "had small amounts of fire".

Photos released on Wednesday by investigators show the extent of the injuries she suffered as she listened to music on board a recent 11-hour flight from Beijing to Melbourne.

Credits: AFPThe woman was asleep when the headphones exploded

Australian authorities have now launched an investigation into the incident, and believe the batteries in the headphones caught fire.

They said the woman was listening to music on her own pair of headphones, which exploded about two hours into the flight as she slept.

In a statement released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, she described hearing a loud explosion, adding: "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.

"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."

Credits: ATSB
A blister on the woman's hand

She added: "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 battery and cover were both melted and stuck to the floor of the aircraft.

For the rest of the flight hundreds of passengers had to put up with the pungent smell of melted plastic, burnt electronics and burnt hair.

The passenger, whose name was not released, said: "People were coughing and choking the entire way home."

The manufacturer of the headphones was not revealed.

The ATSB said the incident highlights the growing concerns about battery-operated devices and safety risks on flights.

It reminded passengers using battery-powered devices to keep the batteries in an approved stowage unless in use and carry spare battering in their hand luggage - not in their checked baggage.

Passengers who drop their smartphone or other device between the seat gap should retrieve it before moving powered seats, or refrain from moving the seat and alert a flight attendant if they can't find the device, the ATSB added.

Last year the ATSB warned passengers about lithium ion batteries after smoke was seen pouring out of a passenger's hand luggage before takeoff at Sydney airport.

Investigators later found that batteries that the passenger was carrying had ignited on board the aircraft and they were not packed properly to protect them from short circuiting.

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