Man dies while charging iPhone in the bath


Selling your iPhone? Wiping it clean before you hand it off is easy.
Coroner says that Apple should warn customers.
Photo: Ed Gregory

A 32-year-old British man died after electrocuting himself while charging his iPhone in the bath. The fatality appears to have been an accident, rather than suicide.

Richard Bull reportedly plugged his iPhone charger into an extension cord, and then rested the handset on his chest while he was submerged in water. He was pronounced dead by paramedics after they arrived at his London home.

According to Bull’s widow, the burns were severe enough that it looked as though he had been attacked. The incident took place in December last year, although an inquest into his death has just been completed.

In the coroner’s report, they noted that using a seemingly “innocuous device” like the iPhone, can be “as dangerous as a hairdryer in a bathroom.” The coroner also said that “[Apple] should attach warnings” about possible risks, and said that, “I intend to write a report later to the makers of the phone.”

Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard reports about iPhones being responsible for accidental electrocutions. Although not true in this case, these are most commonly tied to users’ decisions to use dodgy, third-party chargers. A 2016 report into counterfeit chargers suggested that 99 percent fail basic safety tests — with only 3 of 400 tested chargers having enough insulation to protect users against potentially fatal electric shocks.

Apple has long taken proactive steps to get customers to use official chargers. A few years ago it announced a new USB Power Adapter Takeback Program for those who wish to swap out their third-party chargers for official ones. Whether it will be compelled to add additional warnings following this latest news story remains to be seen!

Source: Daily Mail 

  • TrueNorth_Steve✓ᴰᴱᴾᴸᴼᴿᴬᴮᴸᴱ

    so Darwin is alive and well.

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  • digitaldumdum

    “Man dies while charging iPhone in the bath”

    I love the line, “Coroner says that Apple should warn customers.” Apparently, humans should be warned over and over that ANY device that runs on electricity should be avoided while in or near water.

    • CelestialTerrestrial

      There are electric shavers that can be used while in the shower, so they do have some electronic devices that can be used, but for smartphones? He probably thought that since the 7/7+ are water resistant, that he could charge them while submerged in water. That’s what the bad idea was.

      • Dan

        Not still plugged in.

      • digitaldumdum

        While I take your point about the •very• few devices designed to be used while around water, if this guy •really• thought his phone was immune to the laws of physics—especially while charging—he was a complete dope. Then again, anyone who feels he has to be that connected, metaphorically or literally, while taking a bath needs to reassess his priorities. Sadly, this man will no longer be reassessing anything.

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  • Dan

    It would be interesting to find out if the charger brick was on his chest or just the phone alone. If the charger then he was just being stupid! As any AC powered device would have killed him.

    If on the other hand the Lightning cord was attached to his phone while he was in the tub then that is DC not AC, and I would be surprised Apple didn’t have some sort of GFI logic to prevent someone from getting hurt.

    As for as any other phone maker they should take heed and add a GFI to their chargers.

  • Paul

    Yes Darwin is alive and this is proof, this is a stupid as using the toaster in the bath!

    • EdRed

      I had the exact same thought.

  • Furutan

    One thing the victim’s brother said that “they” (whoever “they” are) told him that with the electricity in the U.S. he wouldn’t have been hurt. Yuh huh.
    The difference is that 110v will kill you, whereas 230v will cook you and eat you.`

  • DrTinnitus

    The charger delivers some 5V and 0,5-1 Ah for charging thru the Lightning cord, so how can that kill? Isn’t more likely that the extension cord and/or the power adapter it self accidentally fell in the water?