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Woman dies of electrocution after using smartphone that was being charged

wireless emergency alert augmentation smartphone user
Tatsiana Yuralaits/123RF
A smartphone has been ruled the culprit in the tragic death of a woman in Malaysia. Suhana Mohamad, a 30-year-old resident of the Cheras suburb of Kuala Lumpur, was speaking on her mobile device while it was plugged into a wall socket and charging. According to Kosmo, a Malaysian news site, the mother of two was then electrocuted by the smartphone. More devastating still, the tragedy occurred on her birthday.

There’s no word yet as to what sort of smartphone she was using or what type of charger was in play, but this is the first time in Malaysia that a charging cell phone has been determined to be a cause of death. While there have been other incidents involving exploding smartphone batteries, and some dangerous, chemical-leaking cases, a death that has been directly linked to a smartphone is a rare occurrence.

One of the last reported such incidents occurred in July 2013, when a 23-year-old Chinese flight attendant named Ma Ailun died in a result of a similar incident. When she answered a charging iPhone 5, the phone electrocuted her, killing her instantly. In this case, Xinhua News Agency reports, the iPhone involved was purchased from an official Apple Store and was charging with its intended Apple charger.

Mohamad’s husband, a policeman, sent her to the hospital immediately after she was electrocuted, but medical personnel were unable to save her. “The victim died during treatment at the hospital and the case has been classified as sudden death,” Kajang police deputy chief Supt Abdul Ghani Mohamad Ji said in a statement.

According to a 2013 CNN report, electrocution involving cellphones remains very uncommon. “We have seen very few incidents related to shock or electrocution (involving cell phones),” said Scott Wolfson, communications director for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “Most of our attention has been on overheating, smoke or fire.” But to protect yourself, “Stick to the company that made your phone when you’re buying replacement products,” Wolfson added.

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