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The event took place in China's western Xinjiang region on Thursday, July 11. Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was electrocuted when she took a phone call as her iPhone was charging. The news was first reported by the Xinhua news agency, which quoted local police as saying, "Her neck had an obvious electronic injury." It is possible the cord being used to charge the device was defective or damaged, which could lead to such an event.
The woman's sister posted details about the electrocution to a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter, where the news went viral. In her message, she urged iPhone users to be careful about answering calls when the device is plugged in.
"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 said in a statement. Further details were not provided and Apple didn't comment further on the matter.
This isn't the first time that smartphones have been blamed for death or injury.
[ iPhone users, beware violent robbers. Read Smartphone Makers Asked To Fight 'Apple-Picking.' ]
Just last week, an 18-year-old woman in Switzerland was badly burned when her Samsung Galaxy S III exploded in her pocket. The explosion set fire to her pants. Thankfully, her employer was able to rescue her, but not before she suffered third-degree burns to her thigh. Be warned, these pictures of the burn are graphic.
Of the incident, Samsung said, "Once we have been able to contact this person, we will launch a thorough investigation to shed light on the accident and, in this context, what is left of the phone will probably be sent to Korea." The representative went on to say that Samsung is "sorry that Ms. Schlatter was injured."
Perform a simple Google search for "smartphone explodes" and you'll find dozens of similar examples. Many of the injuries occurred when the devices were plugged in and overheated and caught fire or exploded. People have most often suffered burns to hands, ears, and legs. The take-away is that perhaps it is wise to unplug smartphones before answering calls.
Neither Apple nor Samsung said if or when they'd provide more details about the recent incidents in China and Switzerland.