Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old Chinese woman, picked up her iPhone 5 to answer a call while the battery was charging and was electrocuted last Thursday, according to a report from Chinese news outlet Xinhaunet. Apple is looking into the report. “We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the Ma family.
We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter,” Apple’s Beijing-based spokesperson Carolyn Wu told ABC News.
Apple would not comment further on the case when reached by ABC News. Reuters first reported on Apple’s investigation on Monday.
According to Xinhaunet, Ma Ailun, from China’s western Xinjiang region and a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, bought the iPhone in December at an Apple store and was using the original charger to charge it.
While details are limited on the incident, Donald Johnson, a professional engineer who deals with stray voltage and electrocution investigations, said that many factors could be at play in this particular incident.
“There are a lot of things that could have caused this. Many seem unlikely, but you never know — electricity can do strange things,” Johnson told ABC News.
He suggested that it could be something that was specifically faulty with the charger being used. When asked if others should be worried about this, he said, “I wouldn’t be concerned about it at all.
The investigation will be important, but usually low-voltage items, like a phone chargers, aren’t a concern.” There have also been recent reports of safety issues with the iPhone’s closest competitor — the Samsung Galaxy S. Last week a Swiss teenager said she had suffered third-degree burns after a Samsung Galaxy S3 exploded in her pocket.
Samsung has also promised to investigate.
Apple has recently begun a major push into the Chinese market. In April Tim Cook apologized to Chinese consumers for what he said were misunderstandings about Apple’s repair and warranty policy in the country. In 2011, China became Apple’s second-largest market, behind the U.S.