23-year-old Chinese woman dies after being electrocuted by iPhone 5, Apple to investigate incident


A 23-year-old Chinese woman who was weeks away from her wedding, died last week. The alleged cause? She was electrocuted by her iPhone 5.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that police have confirmed the accident and the woman’s death. It’s also being reported that the woman, Ma Ailun, was electrocuted by her iPhone when she answered it while it was charging. Her sister posted what happened on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter. The message was reposted more than 3,000 times and gained a significant amount of attention in Chinese media.

As we all know, answering your phone while it’s connected to the charger is perfectly normal and safe. It should definitely not result into something like death. According to Fortune, other family members chimed in on Weibo saying that she had just stepped out from a bath. But authorities say “they could not identify the source of the current that killed her.”

It appears that it might be too early to tell exactly what happened to the woman, despite all the claims being made.

Apple has acknowledged the incident and provided a statement regarding the incident:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family. We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter.”

This is the second phone-related accident to occur recently, as it comes just a few days after a Samsung Galaxy S III exploded and burned a girl’s leg.

[via CNETiDB, image via planetofgori]

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  • Louis

    [@Darcy] Darcy, yes, i recall reading about this very issue in a well known tech website. Off course, given what happened with my ext monitor(bursting out in flames ) I sure a hell were fortunate for having pulled the power connector out of my main laptop second or 2 earlier !

    So given that I can’t afford to buy any surge protector in China, where I live for now, since they have got fake down to an art, I have two options :

    1) Order it from Amazon — can you recommend any general quality brand ?

    [@ Alen] Would you mind telling me the name of your’s ?, I would be interested in getting something with a guarantee like that, it sure has to count for something

    2) I’m thinkin gabout this — in South Africa (good quality power grid network) I was protected anyway, with good surge protectors (although I hadn’t known about the strips inside), but I also had a good (and expensive) UPS, which as I understand it, doubles as both a surge protector, as well as a sudden weak flow of power to your pc (a techie once told me this can also damage your pc’s motherboard, don’t know if it’s true).

    What is your opinion on using a UPS (too heavy to mail order from Amazon, so will have to go over the border to Hong Kong to get a good one), vs using a combination of surge protectors ?

  • Alen

    If you say they should be changed yearly how come mine came with a 5 year warranty and £12,000 cover for damage if it fails?

  • [@Louis] Lightning can defy all the rules. I’ve heard of instances where a lightning strike 10+miles away travels down the line to hit a house and even weirder things so yes, that is possible. One thing to remember is that lightning will (usually) take out the last thing in line and the lady would have qualified for that.

    BTW, if you have a surge protector remember that every tiny surge decays the element that protects your equipment just a little bit. You should replace them with new ones every year since the protection is lost when that element is gone. My brother is paranoid enough that he uses 3 strips, removing the first one in line and adding a new third one every year. Probably overkill but his equipment is well protected. =)

  • Louis

    This is more of a question than a theory — but can lightning, coupled with Enrique’s theory of a (typically) badly designed and Chinese manufactured 3rd party charger , plus wet hare or skin touching the phone at that moment, lead to electrocution ?

    Just asking, for I’m living and working in China, and a few weeks back, while I was sitting in front of my computer, with the external monitor plugged in, in a particularly vicious lightning storm, I had just plugged out the power point out of my laptop when I saw the lightning, and as I bent down to remove the mains from the wall plug, said external monitor literally burst out in flames right in front of my face.

  • [@RealBull] Lithium Ion batteries can explode, usually by overcharging or charging at the wrong voltage, etc. Lithium hydride batteries are a lot safer, but any battery is capable of exploding.

    A properly functioning charger would not produce the power needed to electrocute someone under normal circumstances. Chinese household voltage is usually 220, not enough to kill someone normally but when they are wet it is possible. Enrique Manalang might just be right about the cause. =/

  • Enrique Manalang

    [@RealBull] Yeah, I’m a little skeptical about this one.

    But personally, I think there’s a chance that it could’ve been the fault of a faulty cheap third-party charger. Those things tend to cause problems.

  • RealBull

    An exploding cellphone, I believe. This one, I don’t.