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Woman dies using a charging iPhone 5, Apple vows to aid in investigation

post #1 of 107
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Apple has said it will aid in the investigation of the death of a Chinese woman who was allegedly electrocuted when she answered a charging iPhone 5.

China


In an e-mail sent to Reuters, Apple said the company is "deeply saddened" by the "tragic incident" that killed 23-year-old Xinjiang woman Ma Ailun. Apple vowed to "fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter."

Police say Ma was killed when she answered a call on her charging iPhone 5. The story gained traction when her sister wrote on the microblog Sina Weibo to warn other users to be careful.

Prior to the incident in China, there have been no widespread claims about faulty charging with the iPhone 5. Apple did recall iPhone 3G power adapters back in 2008 over a shocking risk that affected just a "very small" number of adapters.

Negative publicity in China regarding warranty policies prompted Apple to issue a formal apology in April. Since then, the company has been more aggressive in publicly responding to negative reports from the Chinese media.
post #2 of 107
Was the charger original ?
post #3 of 107
Not that I am saying this is what happened here but a friend of mine had a new charger unit for his MBP which he purchased on Amazon. After discovering he kept getting small shocks from his MBP's case I checked it out. It turned out to be a cheap Chinese knock off and had zero earthing. Apple use a pretty sophisticated ground balancing technology in their chargers. I can imagine had the fake Apple charger he had, become wet from the outlet and no GFI in circuit, a potential major shock could have resulted. I am not sure the phone chargers work the same way as the MBP chargers.
Edited by digitalclips - 7/15/13 at 5:45am
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post #4 of 107
I'm wondering why AI left out the part that she got out of the bathtub to answer a call while dripping with water???
post #5 of 107

I too would investigate the possibility that it was a knockoff charger.

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post #6 of 107
This woman deserves a Darwin Award. She got out of the bath and got hold of an electric device plugged into the mains? Seriously? That's not a design flaw, it's an act of stupidity. An unfortunate accident definitely, and a sad loss for her friends and family, but no technological issue here, a biological one!
post #7 of 107
Umph. Just a tragic loss of life. Thoughts & prayers to the family.
post #8 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by nkhm View Post

This woman deserves a Darwin Award. She got out of the bath and got hold of an electric device plugged into the mains? Seriously? That's not a design flaw, it's an act of stupidity. An unfortunate accident definitely, and a sad loss for her friends and family, but no technological issue here, a biological one!

I'm not sure the post above mentioning a bath and dripping wet was serious. Do you know the bath comment to be true?
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post #9 of 107
I'm serious. 9to5 Mac is reporting it too.
post #10 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I'm serious. 9to5 Mac is reporting it too.

Oh, OK. Thanks for update. Seemed too far fetched not to be a joke... ! And this is being investigated... seriously? I guess she didn't have a GFI in her bathroom!
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post #11 of 107
Other sources say that it was the original charger and that she originated the call. She was not wet or in the bathtub from anything I read (not sure where you got that, unless you were joking).

BUT, this is china people. The place where they the government was intentionally trying to promote misinformation about apple through celebrities postings, etc. So I'm skeptical. Especially, considering there have been no other similar reports and the are millions of iphones in use. Of course, I'm sure some 'copy cat' problems will suddenly emerge.
post #12 of 107

This is really, really, really, unlikely from an engineering standpoint unless there was a bare spot on the cable.  In which case, who's fault is that?  Not Apple's. 

post #13 of 107

Shouldn't report this kind of thing if you're not going to mention the most important detail. People will read this and think she was just sitting there in her living room or something.

post #14 of 107
Ma's sister said she hopes to seek justice from Apple.

This whole thing sounds fishy, and it should be fully investigated to rule out any foul play.

It could be a money grab, it could be carelessness on the part of the user, the user might have been using one of those crappy Chinese knockoff chargers, the possibilities are endless.
post #15 of 107

deleted post

post #16 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I'm serious. 9to5 Mac is reporting it too.

 

Actually there is nothing about a bathtub there, so if they did report that, they've since taken it down. 

post #17 of 107

But when she grabs the phone and not the charger all she can touch are ~5V (USB voltage).

That shouldn't even be enough for a tingle on the skin (even when dripping wet).

On the other hand if the charger was broken and supplied 110V AC (220V AC?) the phone should have been fried already?

Besides the tragedy for the family I have got some skepticism on the report.
 

post #18 of 107
Wouldn't the cable going to the iPhone only be carrying a standard 5V USB charge? No one is going to die from a 5V at ~1A.
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post #19 of 107


What does this say?
post #20 of 107
The South China Morning Post is reporting that Apple is investigating reports that a Chinese flight attendant was fatally electrocuted when getting out of the bath to answer a call on her iPhone 5 while it was plugged into the charger.

Just grabbed it from 9to5mac
post #21 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by copeland View Post

But when she grabs the phone and not the charger all she can touch are ~5V (USB voltage).
That shouldn't even be enough for a tingle on the skin (even when dripping wet).
On the other hand if the charger was broken and supplied 110V AC (220V AC?) the phone should have been fried already?
Besides the tragedy for the family I have got some skepticism on the report.

 

The water was possibly conducting directly from the live pin in the wall then along the wet cable to her, bypassing the charger completely.
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post #22 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Actually there is nothing about a bathtub there, so if they did report that, they've since taken it down. 

The South China Morning Post is reporting that Apple is investigating reports that a Chinese flight attendant was fatally electrocuted when getting out of the bath to answer a call on her iPhone 5 while it was plugged into the charger.

Just grabbed it from 9to5mac
post #23 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Not that I am saying this is what happened here but a friend of mine had a new charger unit for his MBP which he purchased on Amazon. After discovering he kept getting small shocks from his MBP's case I checked it out. It turned out to be a cheap Chinese knock off and had zero earthing. Apple use a pretty sophisticated ground balancing technology in their chargers. I can imagine had the fake Apple charger he had, become wet from the outlet and no GFI in circuit, a potential major shock could have resulted. I am not sure the phone chargers work the same way as the MBP chargers.

I get micro shocks from my MacBook Pro as well. The charger that ships with it has 2 plugs for the wall socket portion, 1 with a cable extension and 1 without. The one without does not have the internal connection for earthing, which probably what allowed static build up I'm guessing.
post #24 of 107
Every other report of this (9to5 Mac etc) Basically has this woman using a plugged in iPhone in the bathroom.

Seriously humanity, get a grip. Everything isn't a technical fault nor a reason for litigation. Sometimes people just make mistakes.
post #25 of 107

A typical USB outlet is rated at 5V. How is that lethal? I suspect the charger is a knockoff

post #26 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by longfang View Post

I get micro shocks from my MacBook Pro as well. The charger that ships with it has 2 plugs for the wall socket portion, 1 with a cable extension and 1 without. The one without does not have the internal connection for earthing, which probably what allowed static build up I'm guessing.

(Note this is a side discussion regarding MBP not iPhone charger) If you are in the USA (I cannot speak to other countries' designs) , the genuine Apple one has three metal prongs to plug into the wall outlet. If you disconnect the other end from the charger you will see there is also a metal latch knob on the charger which slides into a track on the cable end. The inside of the cable's latch tracks have metal strips. On the cheap knock off I saw the latch pin was plastic not metal. I am unclear what the second cable you refer to is?
Edited by digitalclips - 7/15/13 at 6:42am
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post #27 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreiD View Post

Was the charger original ?

Was any of it? China is a big area for knockoffs. Who knows if it was even in actual iPhone and not a knockoff or a Frankenstein.

I suspect like the burning phone in Austrailia it will turn out that the charger, if not the iPhone are knockoffs.

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post #28 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by UbiquitousGeek View Post

Wouldn't the cable going to the iPhone only be carrying a standard 5V USB charge? No one is going to die from a 5V at ~1A.

If the cable and wall plug are legit apple stuff sure.

But if one of them is third party who knows

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post #29 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post

A typical USB outlet is rated at 5V. How is that lethal? I suspect the charger is a knockoff

The current isn't limited to traveling along the USB cable if there is sufficient water involved. It could be a knock off as you say, or a dead short (pardon the pun) from the outlet to the bath tub via the poor lady. We will have to wait and hear from the investigators.
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post #30 of 107
Water & electricity do not mix and are deadly, this has been passed down for generations in my family
post #31 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

We will have to wait and hear from the investigators.

The Chinese state has already been caught lying about Apple in the past, so nobody can trust their conclusions, and Apple needs to be given full access to all of the evidence and the phone and charger, otherwise this whole thing is just bs.
post #32 of 107
Mysterious China.
Where nothing is what it seems.

Ml
post #33 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Everett Ruess View Post

Water & electricity do not mix and are deadly, this has been passed down for generations in my family

They mix too well! That's the problem.
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post #34 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post

A typical USB outlet is rated at 5V. How is that lethal? I suspect the charger is a knockoff

The current isn't limited to traveling along the USB cable if there is sufficient water involved. It could be a knock off as you say, or a dead short (pardon the pun) from the outlet to the bath tub via the poor lady. We will have to wait and hear from the investigators.

 

In these situations the simplest explanations are generally the most likely - such as the charger falling into the water while she was still in electrical contact with it. It seems very unlikely that an iPhone could continue to be functional if any of its electrical inputs were raised to a lethal voltage.

post #35 of 107
The headline should have read, "Sexy stewardess found dead and naked clutching an iPhone to her ample bosoms." Instead, they have to implicate Apple in some wrongful death lawsuit. Apple always gets a bad rap for everything. That could happen to anyone grabbing some charging device no matter who the manufacturer. I'm pretty sure those risks are stated in the manuals when you buy those charging products.
post #36 of 107
Wonder if she uses not Apple branded charge adaptor and lightning cable .
post #37 of 107

Well, she looked nice. That's all I can say.

post #38 of 107
Probably just the Chinese government badmouthing apple with their puppet media!
post #39 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

The headline should have read, "Sexy stewardess found dead and naked clutching an iPhone to her ample bosoms." Instead, they have to implicate Apple in some wrongful death lawsuit. Apple always gets a bad rap for everything. That could happen to anyone grabbing some charging device no matter who the manufacturer. I'm pretty sure those risks are stated in the manuals when you buy those charging products.


It probably says just that in the supermarket check out stand rags.
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post #40 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenfingers View Post

Other sources say that it was the original charger and that she originated the call. She was not wet or in the bathtub from anything I read (not sure where you got that, unless you were joking).

BUT, this is china people. The place where they the government was intentionally trying to promote misinformation about apple through celebrities postings, etc. So I'm skeptical. Especially, considering there have been no other similar reports and the are millions of iphones in use. Of course, I'm sure some 'copy cat' problems will suddenly emerge.

 

Yes, Tenfingers—this absolutely reeks of bullshit. But this sort of crap is not exclusive to China.

 

AI forum followers: review the Wikipedia summary quoted below—a now widely known and infamous case of flagrant media abuse—and ask yourself: why 60 Minutes was not forever discredited and sued out of existence after it was proven they engineered a story which nearly destroyed Audi? The answer is so simple it may astound: people lie all the time—they love it.

 

Quote:
Audi 5000 unintended acceleration allegations:
 
Sales in the United States fell after a series of recalls from 1982 to 1987 of Audi 5000 models associated with reported incidents of sudden unintended acceleration linked to six deaths and 700 accidents At the time, NHTSA was investigating 50 car models from 20 manufacturers for sudden surges of power.
 
A 60 Minutes report aired 23 November 1986, featuring interviews with six people who had sued Audi after reporting unintended acceleration, showing an Audi 5000 ostensibly suffering a problem when the brake pedal was pushed. Subsequent investigation revealed that 60 Minutes had engineered the failure – fitting a canister of compressed air on the passenger-side floor, linked via a hose to a hole drilled into the transmission.

Edited by MacManFelix - 7/15/13 at 8:35am
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