Apple is helping look into how the iPhone 5 played a role in the death of Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old woman from the Xinjiang region in western China. Ma, a flight attendant for China Southern Airlines, was electrocuted to death after taking a call on her iPhone while it was charging.
The bizarre, tragic incident was reported by Xinhua News today. “Ma, who was planning her wedding on August 8, fell to the floor when making a call with her iPhone 5, which was being recharged at the time, Ma’s sister said on her microblog account.” The charger was an official one from Apple and not a third-party product, according to her sister.
Mobile phones can’t output anywhere near the voltage required to harm, much less kill, a human body. The report notes that the normal phone gives off 3-5 volts, while it takes 36 volts for a human to even feel an electric shock. There was likely something wrong with the power circuit or charger Ma was connected to, which could have resulted in a shock of up to 220 volts. A similar incident occurred when a Chinese man was killed in 2010 while taking a call on a phone that was charging.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family,” Apple said in a statement. “We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter.”