Husband of iPhone electrocution victim searches for answers ten months later

The husband of 23-year-old Ma Ailun still unable to find the reasons behind his wife's death

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 8:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 4:34pm

10 months after a Xinjiang woman was killed by an electric shock while using an iPhone, her husband is no closer to determining the reasons behind her tragic death. 

23-year-old Ma Ailun, a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, died on July 11. She had been electrocuted after picking up her charging iPhone 4 to answer a call.

At the time, local media reports speculated that Ma may have been using a non-licensed phone charger at the time of her death, although this has never been confirmed.

Fake Apple chargers are sold regularly throughout mainland China and often have low capacitor or circuit protector quality, which may cause a phone to overheat or transmit electric shocks.

Ma’s death sparked concern amongst China’s massive community of smartphone users – many of whom see the iPhone as a popular luxury item.

At the time of Ma’s death, Apple issued a statement saying the company was “deeply saddened to learn of [the] tragic incident” and would co-operate with authorities in investigations.

Ten months later, however, Ma’s husband An Tao is still searching for answers.

According to a news report published on Chinese media portal, An has repeatedly tried to contact Apple with little success, an experience that has made him feel “especially helpless”.

An told reporters that after his wife’s death, all evidence in the case, including the iPhone 4 and charger, were kept by the Public Security Bureau of Xinjiang’s Changji City.

Apple claims to have sent experts to Changji to examine the iPhone, but An was never personally contacted or notified of any conclusions to the examination.

“I talked with Apple’s communication team, and learned that [if I wanted to find out the reasons behind the incident], I needed to bring this matter up with Apple’s office in Beijing,” An reportedly said. “But I was also told that I needed to obtain the mobile phone used by the deceased as evidence.

“When I contacted [Changji City’s] Public Security Bureau, I was told that all evidence needed to remain there for legal procedures and could not be submitted to Apple.”

An was also told that if he wanted to pursue a lawsuit against Apple, he would need to sue Apple’s main headquarters in the United States.

In early April, An went to Beijing’s Apple office but was unable to meet with company officials.

In desperation, An has resorted to speaking with local Beijing media, stressing that he only hopes to find out the exact circumstances behind the accident that took his wife’s life.

“My wife has already been dead nearly ten months and this matter has still not reached any sort of conclusion,” An told reporters. “I feel like I’ve let my wife down.”

Apple representatives have yet to comment on An's claims.