Woman Dead After iPhone Zap: Family

Apple looking into China death; unlikely phone is to blame

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2013 11:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – The family of a 23-year-old Chinese woman says she was electrocuted when she answered her charging iPhone. The story has prompted an investigation into the death by Apple as it makes waves on Chinese social media, the Wall Street Journal reports. A local official says Ma Ailun's "neck had an obvious electronic injury." But it's not certain whether the phone, charger, or neither are to blame; nor is it clear which model iPhone she was using.

Uncertified chargers are widespread in China, according to the China Consumers' Association, which says they can make a phone a "pocket grenade." Fortune doubts the phone is to blame, citing a range of other electrocution risks via China's Yahoo site, including frayed wires. The woman left the bathtub to answer the phone, which could have lowered her resistance to electrocution, the Atlantic Wire notes. But "the likelihood of electrocution by iPhone is very, very low. It takes a lot of very particular circumstances that unfortunately transpired for Ma Ailun, which probably is why this is the first news report of this ever happening," writes Rebecca Greenfield.

In this file photo, a customer tests the new iPhone 5 at the Apple store in Hong Kong.
In this file photo, a customer tests the new iPhone 5 at the Apple store in Hong Kong.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
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