Australian authorities issued a warning about cheap, non-compliant USB chargers yesterday after a young woman died from apparent electrocution while using a laptop and possibly a smartphone.
Sheryl Aldeguer, 28, was found wearing headphones and with her computer in her lap with burns on her chest and ears at a home in Gosford, north of Sydney, in April.
Police are still investigating the circumstances of the death but the Department of Fair Trading, which has assisted with the case, suggested a substandard mobile phone charger could be to blame.
Aldeguer, whom reports said was from the Philippines but had recently become an Australian citizen, had headphones plugged into her laptop, which was connected to a power socket to charge.
"The phone was also plugged into a USB-style charger. That charger had failed," Lynelle Collins from the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading said.
"Somehow power from that charger has connected to her body. Whether she had it (the phone) to her ear or was holding it in her hand, we don't know."
The woman's death is the only known fatality in Australia that has been potentially linked with the chargers, but a report from China last year suggested a woman was electrocuted while making a call on a phone that was charging.