The US Department of Transportation has banned Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones on flights after reports of the device catching fire, fearing they could lead to “a catastrophic incident.”

The BBC and Sky News reports that passengers will not be able to take the phones on flights or in their luggage to and from the US from 4pm today (Saturday, October 15) – and anyone caught doing so faces a fine and possible criminal prosecution.

The US Department of Transportation says the Samsungs should now be official considered as “a forbidden hazardous material.”

The Federal Aviation Administration had previously advised against packing the phones in luggage.

But now it has banned them completely fearing the phones catching fire could cause a ‘catastrophic incident’ – sparking fears they could potentially bring a plane down.

Passengers caught attempting to bring them on a plane could be fined or have them confiscated

Samsung permanently stopped Galaxy Note 7 production this week.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "We recognise that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,"

"We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident in-flight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk."

Samsung recalled around 2.5 million phones in September after complaints of batteries catching fire.

While it later insisted that all replaced devices were safe, there were reports that those phones were catching fire too.

The company then said it would stop Galaxy Note 7 production.

Samsung recalled about 2.5 million of its flagship phones last month after reports some had caught fire because of faulty lithium batteries.

Earlier this week, Samsung stopped the production and sales of the Note 7 worldwide after failing to overcome the battery problems.

The South Korean firm said its profits will take a £4.3bn hit from costs associated with its failed smartphone. 

* A pioneering invention called an AvSax can minimise the fire danger in seconds with its unique use of water.

Simply pour at least two litres of water into an AvSax and then drop the burning device into the bag. The water activates a polymer gel inside the bag’s lining causing it to expand around the device. Should the device keep on burning then the AvSax is tough enough to absorb the force.