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Apple to aid investigation of Chinese woman killed charging iPhone 5

updated 10:28 am EDT, Mon July 15, 2013

Company looks to avoid PR problems

Apple is "deeply saddened" by the death of a Chinese woman who was electrocuted while charging her iPhone 5, and will "fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter," a company spokesperson tells Reuters. Police say that Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old from Xinjiang, was killed when she attempted to answer a call on her still-charging iPhone 5. The incident gained attention when Ma's sister made a post on Sina Weibo warning other people to be careful.

In general, Apple has had few if any complaints about charging the iPhone 5. The company did once have to recall power adapters for the iPhone 3G, but no one is believed to have been severely injured by a faulty cable. At the time, Apple claimed that a "very small" number of adapters were defective.

by MacNN Staff



  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    She was probably using unapproved third-party charger made by a Chinese company. I saw some of those selling at my local Walgreens Pharmacy‎ store. I am very skeptic about their safety.

  1. jdonahoe

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 07-05-06


    That was the exact, same thing I was thinking when I read this article.

  1. BigJohn11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-07-10

    Yeah, I mean the amount of power coming across from the charger is very small like 5 volts right and like 2amps. Shouldn't be more then a small poke.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Other posters are right. An iPhone charger should be providing no more that five volts and that's not remotely enough to kill. The lowest lethal voltage for skin contact is probably in the 40-volt range and that requires exceptional conditions.

    Most likely, she was killed by a cheap, third-party charger when the 115 or 230 volt line voltage shorted over to something she was touching. The UL and CE logos you see on devices mean they've been lab-tested to not allow that to happen. No logo means danger.

    Also keep in mind that news reporters, here and abroad, know remarkably little about science, history and law. Worst still, they often twist stories to make them more sensational with little regard for the consequences.

    Recent stories about the 787 fire in London illustrate that. The fire was half the plane away from where the closest batteries are stored. A junior high student could figure out those batteries weren't the cause, but that was well beyond the collective intelligence of the media in the UK and US. We had a day of groundless and ridiculous hysteria before experts set the story straight.

    Unable to understand anything themselves, reporters also set a great store on what 'experts' say even when those experts have deceptive agendas. The population explosion hysteria of the late 1960s is a good example of that.

  1. b9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-22-08

    Report said she was wet from a bath when she answered her plugged in iPhone. Water shorted to the outlet and killed her. Not her phone or the charger. Of course now the family is denying that she came from a bath or was wet. They just want compensation from Apple. Sad.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    I figured water had to be involved. Where did you see the report?

  1. nouser

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-29-12

    Wasn't there a bunch of iPhone fakes being made in China as well? I even remember reading about a host of fake Apple stores selling fake Apple products not long ago.

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