Cyclist Burned After He Falls on His iPhone

Australian Gareth Clear has third-degree burns on his butt
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2016 9:26 AM CDT
Cyclist Burned After He Falls on His iPhone
Try not to fall hard with one of these in your pocket.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Sydney cyclist Gareth Clear was riding his bike with his iPhone 6 in his back pocket over the weekend when his foot slipped off the pedal and he lost his balance and fell—all par for the course for riders of any level. But he was not expecting his phone to explode upon impact, thereby sending him to the hospital with third-degree burns and the need for a skin graft. "I just saw smoke coming out of my back pocket ... and then all of a sudden I felt this surging pain" and "searing heat," he tells the Sydney Morning Herald. (Click that link for photos.) Though he'll be housebound all week, Clear is expected to fully recover in a matter of weeks. And his phone, whose top is still in tact, otherwise looks like "something from a chemical explosion," he tells the Sun.

Clear, a 36-year-old from the UK, says he doesn't blame Apple but thinks the company should make the issue clearer to users, reports Apple hasn't commented publicly, though Clear says he did get a private response, one he described as "very technical-driven." That is, "No one's asked me, 'How are you?'" A spokesperson for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says that it's all about the batteries, and that athletic types might avoid carrying phones in their pockets when there is the chance of such an accident: "Lithium batteries are vulnerable to significant physical impact, [which] may damage the extremely thin separators that keep the elements of the battery apart." (Lithium batteries can pose serious problems on planes, too.)

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