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Apple to probe smartphone charging death mystery

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
July 16, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ma Ailun, 23, was picking up her iPhone to answer a call when she was electrocuted, Xinhua reports
  • Police have yet to say whether her phone was involved as they continue their investigation
  • Apple: We will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter

Hong Kong (CNN) -- U.S. electronics giant Apple is investigating reports in China that a woman died after being electrocuted while trying to make a call with her iPhone 5 while it was charging.

Ma Ailun, a flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, was picking up her handset to answer a call last Thursday when she received an electric shock, police said Sunday, in reports carried by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Police, who are continuing their investigation, have not yet identified a cause -- whether the phone or anything else.

In a statement received by CNN, Apple said: "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."

Why did Apple apologize to China?
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Many have taken to to social media to question how the 23-year old from China's far-western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region died.

"(I) hope that Apple Inc. can give us an explanation. I also hope that all of you will refrain from using your mobile devices while charging," a person identified as Ma's sister posted on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service.

Meanwhile, Ma's father, Ma Guanghui, said that his daughter was electrocuted, adding that her body showed signs of electrocution, Xinhua said.

But Monday's Xinhua report also pointed out that mobile phones have a low output of only 3 to 5 volts, which isn't enough to harm the human body.

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