Several Chinese news sources are reporting that at some time in the last 24 hours an air hostess was electrocuted when she was talking on her iPhone 5 at the same time it was charging.

Hong Kong News Yahoo Video report

Sing Tao Daily - Charging iPhone 5 electrocuted pretty stewardess

English version now in Reuters story linked in update below.

UPDATE: Reuters is now claiming that Apple has stated that it will investigate the claims made. source

  • I added in google translated version as a quote, and made the links work. – Wertilq Jul 14 '13 at 10:16
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    Seems like a better title might be "Can you be electrocuted by a charging phone?" – rjzii Jul 14 '13 at 14:59
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    I don't think any voltage higher than 5V DC ever even reaches the phone: they are USB chargeable and the usb cables don't have the space to house an upconverter – ratchet freak Jul 14 '13 at 18:39
  • Did your iPhone delete your comment about it conspiring not to ask this question? – Andrew Grimm Jul 15 '13 at 2:23
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    More likely perhaps is that a poorly made charger with inadequate creepage and clearance distances or with inadequate insulation between primary and secondary windings or some other design or manufacturing defect results in a bridge between the high voltage and low voltage sides of the PCB inside the charger. Apples design passes US and EU regulations, some Chinese made alternatives and fakes do not. – RedGrittyBrick Jul 15 '13 at 11:03

Was an air hostess electrocuted by her iPhone 5

No, she was electrocuted by her cheap Chinese charger.

A Chinese woman was electrocuted whilst holding an iPhone. However ...

  • The phone was an iPhone 4 not an iPhone 5
  • She had just stepped out of a bath (so may have been wet and dripping water)
  • The charger was not an Apple product but a cheap Chinese fake.

enter image description here

The moral here is

  • When wet, don't handle electrical goods that are connected to wall outlets.
  • Cheap shoddily-made unbranded or fake-brand wall-warts are notoriously unsafe and can kill.

Allegations in English language Media

There are reports in English language news media of an allegation that a Chinese woman was electrocuted whilst using an iPhone connected to a charger.

The allegations were made by the woman's sister using social media website Sina Weibo

It may be that these early reports are all based on a single initial Xinhua report.

Other possible factors

According to a CNN report - "The family told @Stewardess network that she had left a bath to answer a call."

No Corroboration (yet?)

So far there has been no report of a police statement or coroner's verdict confirming the details of the allegation - that I can find.

Police in Changji, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the victim and her family reside, confirmed with the Global Times on Sunday that they have received reports from the victim's family and started an investigation, but declined to disclose further details.

According to a BBC report

News agency Xinhua has confirmed police are investigating the death of Ma Ailun in the north-western city of Xinjiang. But it said they had not verified if a mobile phone was the cause.

Fake iPhone chargers

There have been previous reports of electric shocks from fake iPhone chargers and the safety of fake iPhone chargers is notorious 1 2. The sister claims it was original equipment from an Apple store but it look like she was wrong.

The BBC report, referred to above, says

Xinhua said the China Consumers Associations had previously reported a man had been killed in 2010 while making a phone call using a handset connected to the mains with an unauthorised charger.

A teardown of a fake charger shows why these can be dangerous. As pointed out by Rob in a comment below

Fake charger PCB


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