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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 1:41am
Apple
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TECHNOLOGY

Apple to investigate reported iPhone 5 shock death

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 July, 2013, 5:12am
 

Apple has promised to "fully investigate" reports that a woman was killed by an electric shock from her iPhone 5 while charging it at home.

A spokeswoman for the technology company said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the ... family. We will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter."

According to mainland media reports, Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was picking up her iPhone 5 to answer a call while the battery was being charged when she was electrocuted and killed.

The incident reportedly took place at her home in Xinjiang on Thursday.

It has sparked safety concerns over the bestselling smartphone.

Ma's brother, Yuelun, said in an interview with Apple Daily that the family believe she was killed by an electric shock while using the phone. He said the iPhone in question and its accessories had been handed over to Xinjiang police for investigation.

Online, microblogging site Weibo was flooded with posts urging fellow users not to make calls while charging their phones.

Experts in Hong Kong warned against using any electrical device while it is being charged.

Johnny Sin Kin-on, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said: "There is a risk using an electrical device while its installed battery is being charged, be it a shaver or a phone."

Dr Peter Chiu Ping-kuen, head of the department of electronic and information engineering at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Sha Tin), expressed a similar view.

"But we do not know the circumstances of the incident and it is not suitable to jump to any conclusions at this stage," he said.

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12

This article is now closed to comments

Harold Cameron
Here in U.K. We've recently been advised by several television consumer programmes to beware of using fake Apple chargers & other accessories which carry the risk of fire & death.
My son purchased a fake aftermarket charger fort his phone & it was purely by chance I noticed it was emitting smoke, as he was fast asleep & managed to avoid a catastrophe.
serpiente
On the contrary. It seems that lately some Western companies have been on the spot light, for the wrong reasons. Some years ago it was Nokia that was ridiculed on a live show on one of the CCTV channels.
It was Apple iPhone (paper offering) that was targeted for the latest Qingming festival, right?
newgalileo
As an electronic engineer, I have strong doubts one cannot use devices being charged like shavers, iPhone etc. It would then also mean you can't use your laptop while being connected to a charger (what I do everyday). I can agree with some other and heavy equipment being charged, e.g. a portable vacuum cleaner. If that would be true, I would be dead long time ago and so would many people. I can only guess there was an electronic problem or another reason (water, humidity. damaged cords, ...). Hopefully the investigation will clarify. I already met a few hysterical people in Beijing saying you can't use an iPhone when it is being charging.
Shadow
stupid and nonsense story .....................no more than
HK_eh!
really? this is a story SCMP? Just because it's Apple/iPhone?
Come on, it's like the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit years ago in the USA, lady got burnt spilling hot coffee on her lap.
maybe Ma also had her iPhone in an inappropriate place. Too much information.
r6b
Iphone has a bare metal case whereas many other similar electrical devices have
either painted metal or plastic housings, which offer better shock immunity.
More important is the adaptor, which is not made by Apple.
Its the adaptor that failed to provide adequate primarily-secondary isolation.
My first guess, is that the user purchased a second adaptor off the street, which did not meet isolation specs of CCC, EU or UL electrical safetycode requirements.
edniw
Cause of death ? Power electrical Voltage ...? here in the U.S - 110 volt.... Asia- Philippines 220 volt. Beijing china 220 to 230 voltage , .. Probably Woman using the iphone , and she talking another line and she try to unplug ? BOOOM! ! ! Electrical Voltage 220-up ! will kill you !!! accident ...? you don't know.
leaot
There is a sad special about this: ****stuff-appletards-say.blogspot.ch/2013/07/part-30-chinese-woman-dies-rip.html
cw.wong.988
I'm willing to bet it's because her hands were wet because as we all know, water(impure) conducts electricity when contacted with a plug.
hkhk
I don't know, this sounds unlikely to me, though it is remotely possible.
From an electronics perspective, it is possible that a faulty charger with a short between one of the AC lines and USB out could electrify the iPhone 5 metal backing, assuming Apple designed it to be grounded/connected to 0V on the battery terminal. I would expect that to cause a fire well before an electrocution, though.

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