Apple to probe iPhone 5 ‘electrocution’

Apple is to “fully investigate” reports that a 23-year-old Chinese woman was killed by an electric shock from her iPhone 5.

Ma Ailun, a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was reportedly electrocuted and killed in her home in Xinjiang last Thursday when she answered a call while the phone was being charged, according to the government website

Ma, who was engaged to be married on August 8, fell to the floor when she picked up the call, Ma’s sister said on her microblog account. She claimed Ma had bought the iPhone in December at an official Apple store and was using the original charger when the incident took place.

A spokeswoman for Apple said the company was “deeply saddened” to learn of the “tragic incident” and offered their condolences to the family. “We will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter,” the statement said.

The South China Morning Post reported that online microblogging site Weibo was flooded with posts urging users not to make calls while charging their phones, while 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), agreed, but added: “We do not know the circumstances of the incident and it is not suitable to jump to any conclusions at this stage.”

A separate media report quoted a senior physics teacher at a Nanjing high school as saying that people will feel an electric shock at about 36 volts, but that mobile phones have a low output of only 3 to 5 volts.

“However, if the charger or the circuit has a problem, such as a broken wire, it can lead to a shock of 220 volts,” the teacher said.

Police are investigating the case but have not confirmed whether a mobile phone was involved.

In 2010, a man in northeast China was killed by an electric shock when making a phone call with a handset that was being recharged with an unauthorised charger, according to the China Consumers Association.



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