Electrocuted by iPhone: Apple Probes Death of Chinese Flight Attendant

Monday, 15 Jul 2013 02:08 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Chinese police and Apple are investigating claims that an airline flight attendant was electrocuted by her iPhone 5 while using the device when it was plugged into her charger, according to reports.

Ma Ailun, 23, a China Southern Airline flight attendant, was talking on the phone at her home in Xinjiang while the charger was plugged in on July 11 when it was hit by a "strong electric current," ZDNet.com reported.

ZDNet.com reported that the phone was purchased legally and still had a one-year warranty on it.

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"We are saddened by this unfortunate accident and our deepest condolence goes to the victim's family," Apple said in a statement about the incident, according to ZDNet.com. "We will conduct a thorough investigation and be fully cooperative."

ZDNet.com said Chinese police confirmed Ma's electrocution and are investigating the incident. The South China Morning Post reported that family members turned the phone over to authorities for their investigation.

J. Wong, of the Chinese news website MyDrivers.com, said the charger may be more of a culprit in the accident than the actual phone, according to ZDnet.com.

"With a very low level of voltage, a mobile phone itself is not life-threatening," Wong said.

The bride-to-be was due to get married on Aug. 8.

The South China Morning Post said the incident has peaked safety concerns over the country's top selling smartphone. The website said experts in Hong Kong had long warned earlier against using any electrical device while it is being charged.

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

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Peter Chiu Ping-kuen, head of the department of electronic and information engineering at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Sha Tin), told the Morning Post that the case needs to be investigated further and there was still too many unknowns.

"We do not know the circumstances of the incident and it is not suitable to jump to any conclusions at this stage," Ping-kuen told the Morning Post.

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