Unauthorized charger likely the blame for Chinese woman electrocution

iPhone charger

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that a 23-year-old China Airlines flight attendant died after being electrocuted by her iPhone 5 charger. She reportedly suffered a fatal electric shock when she answered a call using her iPhone 5 that was recharging.

At the time, details surrounding the event were a bit foggy, with officials saying that they could not identify the source of the current that killed her. But a new report is out this morning claiming that a ‘knockoff’ charger could have been the culprit…

From the South China Morning Post (via MacRumors):

“According to Xiang Ligang, a telecommunications expert interviewed by CCTV, the charger Ma had been using may have been a “knockoff” – a fake.

“Knockoff chargers sometimes cut corners,” Xiang said. “The quality of the capacitor and circuit protector may not be good, and this may lead to the capacitor breaking down and sending 220 volts of electricity directly into the cell phone battery.”

And it also appears that the woman was using an iPhone 4 at the time of the incident, rather than an iPhone 5. As the site notes, the iPhone 4 contains stainless steel, while the iPhone 5 is primarily aluminum, which could have also played a part.

“Xiang said that normally, the electric current from an overloaded charger would overheat the phone’s casing, damaging the circuits inside and rendering the device unusable. In the case of Ma’s iPhone 4, however, authorities said the phone could still be started normally despite severe traces of burning on its exterior. The phone’s data cable, charger, and plug were all intact.”

Obviously, a full police investigation is underway. And earlier this week, Apple issued a statement saying that it too would investigate the incident and co-operate with authorities. The Cupertino company also noted it was “deeply saddened” by the event.

Coincidently, a second iPhone-related electrocution has been reported this morning. ZDNet points to a report from Beijing, claiming that a man was injured while connecting his iPhone 4 to a third-party charger. He is currently in a Beijing hospital, in a coma.