Tech Biz

Another iPhone-Related Electrocution Incident in China

Beijing man remains in coma, new details emerge about earlier shock death.

Following the death of a 23-year-old woman in Xinjiang, reports from Chinese and international media indicate that another Chinese citizen has been electrocuted by an iPhone. Xinhua news reported yesterday that a 30-year-old Beijing man was shocked after connecting his iPhone 4 into a wall charger. The victim, Wu Jiantong, remains hospitalized and in a coma.

According to Wu’s sister, “He shouted ‘electric shock’ and then fell to the floor.” Upon seeing her brother convulsing on the floor and foaming at the mouth, she attempted to unplug the charger. “I then felt needle-like pains on my fingertips,” she told reporters. “The current was running from my finger, through to my arm and body, and to the foot.”

When paramedics arrived at the scene, Wu’s breathing had stopped and his heart wasn’t beating. The emergency medical team performed CPR and rushed Wu to the nearest hospital, where doctors were able to resuscitate him. Currently in a coma, doctors are unsure if the lack of oxygen may have caused brain damage.

“The handset and charger in question didn’t show any signs of damage, however the latter was apparently not an ‘official’ Apple peripheral,” said The Register. “Wu’s family told Beijing Evening News that on the night in question the air inside his apartment was humid, which may not have been good for the charger’s wiring.”

Amid the latest tragedy, new details have emerged about the death of Ma Ailun, the former air hostess who was electrocuted to death earlier this week. Original reports suggested that Ma was using an iPhone 5, but state media has confirmed that it was an iPhone 4. A telecommunications expert interviewed by China’s state-run CCTV also confirmed that the charger was a fake.

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The Atlantic Wire also pointed out that Ma’s family claimed that she had left the bathtub to answer her phone. If she was still “soaking wet,” her resistance to electricity would have been lowered and that may have contributed to the lethality of the shock.

The combination of a knockoff charger and water likely cut Ma’s life short, but more investigation will be required to uncover the exact cause of Wu’s electrocution. It should be emphasized, however, that with 356 million total iPhones sold globally, the risk of electric shock is extremely low.