updated 02:26 am EST, Thu November 28, 2013
Once again, third-party 'knockoff' charger suspected in death
A 28-year-old man was found dead in Rayong province in Thailand, clutching a burnt iPhone 4S in his hand in another case of electrocution -- though police say that once again the use of a third-party charger is believed to be the source of the electric malfunction. Photos taken at the scene strongly suggest that the charger, which was plugged in while the man was using or lying on the device, was not an Apple-made charger. Two other people, both from China, have died or fallen into a coma from faulty chargers connected to iPhones.
Authorities have speculated that the charger may have overheated, generating the electrical shock, reports the South China News. Unauthorized but substantially cheaper "knock-off" chargers are widely used in eastern Asia, but most are inexpensive because they bypass the safety precautions found in Apple's charger. A study in the United States also found third-party and counterfeit chargers that were deemed dangerous or likely to overheat, though no US deaths from chargers have been reported.
The victim's father said that he heard a cry from his son's room but ignored it due a history of the son sleepwalking. The body was found the next morning with severe burn marks on the chest and neck area as well as the burnt iPhone 4S.
Apple investigated both of the Chinese incidents after saying it would work with Chinese authorities, but in both cases the fault was found to come from unsafe third-party chargers. The company posted a notice on its Chinese website warning users against employing third-party chargers. The company also offered to exchange fake chargers for the real ones at no cost for a period of time following the first two electrocution incidents.