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Diatribe: Killed By Her iPhone5?

07/17/2013

iPhone5_ShockI’ve carried a cell phone for many years. My first one was large and clumsy and had an extendable antenna. Eventually, I remember being quite excited to upgrade to my first “flip phone”. I thought I was on the cutting edge of technology each time I clipped that baby to my belt and strutted about. Over the years I’ve upgraded, whenever my carrier allowed, to what I thought would be the best new phone for me.

For several years, I carried an iPhone4S and I enjoyed it very much. But when a friend showed me his HTC One I couldn’t believe how big the screen was. I obsessed about having a bigger screen until it was time for me to upgrade again. When my carrier offered me an opportunity to switch to the HTC One at a reduced price, I quickly relinquished in my iPhone and looked forward to the larger screen. Within hours I realized that I had made a mistake. I allowed myself two weeks to get used to the new phone before I gave up and brought it back. I paid a restocking fee (and a bunch of other money) to get an iPhone 5S. I was so happy to have a familiar smartphone back in my hands and it’s been with me constantly ever since.

And now I’ve learned that it could kill me.

Last Thursday, Ma Ailun, a 23-yeard-old woman in China was electrocuted when she answered a call while her iPhone 5 was charging. According to her sister, Ma, who worked as a flight attendant and was scheduled to be married next month, was exiting her bath when her phone rang and she fell to the floor right after answering the call.

“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 Spokesman via email.

Apple is, reportedly investigating the accident. Hopefully, their efforts will reveal that Ma’s death was the result of a faulty charger and not her iPhone 5. I really enjoy my iPhone5 but, nonetheless, I intend to revisit my decision to charge my phone using a socket near my bathroom sink each night. While it could be a perfectly safe habit, after learning of Ms. Ma’s electrocution, I think it might be wise to charge my phone as far away from water as possible.

Do you charge your cell phone near a water source? Do you use an off-brand charger? Will you change your habits after reading this?

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11 Comments
  1. Um, why would someone plug ANYTHING in near water?

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  2. Anonymous permalink

    Never use electrical cords near water and have GFI (ground fault interrupt) outlets near these sources. Although she broke the first rule, the second would have saved her life.

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  3. Thanks for sharing. One of the scariest movie scenes in a horror movie I ever saw starred Martin Sheen and had little to do with the scary plot. It was when his wife was electrocuted in front of him as she was messing with a toaster with a short while standing in milk that was just spilled by one of the kids. Water and electricity are not a healthy mix. That was a powerful lesson to me that I remember to do this day. Thanks for the public service announcement. BTG

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  4. No way!! I’ve never charged my phone in the bathroom. It’s on my nightstand since it is also my alarm,and that makes me way too nervous. I did used to have one off brand charger, but it died on it’s own. Right now I only have Apple brand chargers. I do hope it was the charger, and I suspect it probably was. Given how many iphones are in use across all the generations of the phone, if this was the first report of such an accident, I am guessing the proximity to water + a faulty charger will be the primary causes.

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  5. Tiffany permalink

    In my area, a teenage girl was electrocuted a few weeks ago when she got caught in a storm in a park; lightning struck the cell phone in her hand and she was killed, the week she was to graduate from high school.

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  6. I charge my cell phone from my laptop while I am using it – it’s convenient & it’s not near a water source. Too many times I would forget to put my phone on the charger when it needed it & I would run out of charge, so I just made it a habit to use my laptop & it works great!

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