APPLE Inc yesterday announced it would "thoroughly investigate" an accident in which a woman in northwest China was suspected of being killed by an electric shock when making a phone call with a recharging iPhone 5.
Ma Ailun, 23, a former flight attendant for China Southern Airlines, was electrocuted in her home in the Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Changji in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region last Thursday, police said yesterday.
Police have not confirmed whether a mobile phone was involved as they continue to investigate the case.
"We feel deeply saddened about the accident and send sincere condolences to her family. We will thoroughly investigate the accident and collaborate with the police investigation," Apple China said in a statement yesterday.
The woman, who was planning her wedding on August 8, fell to the floor when making a call with her iPhone 5, which was being recharged at the time, Ma's sister said on her microblog account.
Ma Ailun bought the iPhone in December at an official Apple store and was using the original charger to recharge the phone when the incident occurred, her sister said.
"I want to warn everyone else not to make phone calls when your mobile phone is recharging," she tweeted.
The sister's tweet was reposted more than 3,000 times. It stirred a heated discussion on the Internet about whether it was unsafe to use mobile phones while recharging.
Many experts said mobile phones have a low output of only 3 to 5 volts, which isn't enough to harm the human body.
People will feel an electric shock at about 36 volts.
"However, if the charger or the circuit has a problem, such as a broken wire, it can lead to a shock of 220 volts," a senior physics teacher at a Nanjing high school was quoted as saying in a media report.
Xu Xuelu, an expert with the Nanjing Appliance Repairing Association, recommended people avoid making calls with their mobile phone while it is being recharged.
In 2010, a man in northeast China was killed by an electric shock when making a phone call with a handset that was being recharged with an unauthorized charger, according to the China Consumers Association.