The iLectricChair: Woman Electrocuted To Death By Her Charging iPhone

"Her neck had an obvious electronic injury," was the local Public Security Bureau's findings following the death of Ma Ailun, a 23-year old Chinese woman whose family alleges she was electrocuted by her iPhone. In its statement, Apple said: "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." The case remains under investigation, with Chinese officials yet to provide details on whether her smartphone, the charger, or something else killed the woman; but, as the WSJ reports, The China Consumers’ Association in May warned about the dangers of a "flood" of uncertified power chargers on the market (in Chinese). In the release the association warned the chargers could turn a smartphone into a “pocket grenade” and cause explosions, electric shock, or fires in a variety of electronic devices. Reuters notes that Ma's sister tweeted on Sina's microblog saying that Ma collapsed and died after using her charging iPhone 5 and urged users to be careful and the message has gone viral - "(I) hope that Apple Inc. can give us an explanation. I also hope that all of you will refrain from using your mobile devices while charging."

 

Via WSJ,

Apple Inc. said Monday that it is investigating a case in which the family of a 23-year-old woman alleges that she was electrocuted by her iPhone.

 

According to a report in China’s official state-run Xinhua news agency, relatives of the woman in China’s western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region are alleging the woman died after trying to answer a call while her iPhone was charging. An officer with the local Public Security Bureau said Monday that an “elementary inspection” showed the woman, named Ma Ailun, was electrocuted.

 

“Her neck had an obvious electronic injury,” he told China Real Time.

 

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In its statement, Apple said: “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.”

 

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While the fact are still unclear, a number of online users in China focused on the type of charger she might have used. The China Consumers’ Association in May warned about the dangers of a “flood” of uncertified power chargers on the market (in Chinese). In the release the association warned the chargers could turn a smartphone into a “pocket grenade” and cause explosions, electric shock, or fires in a variety of electronic devices.

 

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The case is the most recent in a string of public relations difficulties for Apple in China. In April the Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily put the Cupertino, Calif., company’s app store on a list of websites being investigated for providing pornographic content in China. Earlier that same month, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook issued an apology to its Chinese customers after the company’s warranty policy came under attack in state media.