Apple Investigating Why A Woman Was Shocked To Death On Her iPhone

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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.”

  • crateish

    Other sites are reporting that she was getting out of a bath when it happened.

  • kjlloydie

    Saying she was “electrocuted to death” is redundant. I mean, it’s sad and everything, but I’m kinda fed up of seeing “electrocuted to death” everywhere. It’s like saying she was “killed to death”. It just sounds stupid and is really detracting from an incredibly sad story.

  • ekim1406

    Saying she was “electrocuted to death” is redundant. I mean, it’s sad and everything, but I’m kinda fed up of seeing “electrocuted to death” everywhere. It’s like saying she was “killed to death”. It just sounds stupid and is really detracting from an incredibly sad story.

    you can be electrocuted without dying. so its not redundant.

  • Gregory Wright

    @ Kjlloydie, I had look that one up. You are right electrocute can be injured or killed.

  • latndude

    This is a PR nightmare for Apple specially in Asia, hopefully this unfortunate incident will be fully investigated and clarified ,Samsung must be grinning … not good

  • technochick

    Given that China is the knock off capital of the world, especially for apple chargers and cables, I won’t be shocked when it turns out that she was using one and that, not the phone, was the culprit.

  • joewaylo

    She had an electrifying experience

  • Steven Quan

    Western China is very rural. The likely culprit was probably a spike in electrical current. I wouldn’t be surprised if the outlet wasn’t properly grounded. Lots of the buildings in western China are not built to standard. That’s why every time there’s an earthquake in Sichuan all the buildings just topple and hundreds of people die.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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