Apple has launched an urgent safety probe into its iPhone 5 amid claims a bride-to-be died from a massive electric shock while answering a call in China.
Ma Ailun, a former flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, collapsed to the ground when she picked up her smartphone as it charged at home on Thursday, her family said.
The 23-year-old, who was planning to wed on August 8, was rushed to hospital in Xinjiang, northwest China, but medics were unable to revive her.
Tragic: Ma Ailun, 23, a former flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, died when she picked up her iPhone as it charged at home on Thursday, her family said. Ma often took pictures of herself with her phone and posted them online (above)
Dangerous? Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old flight attendant with China Southern Airlines, allegedly suffered a massive electric shock as she picked up her new iPhone 5 to answer a call as it was charging on Thursday (stock image)
Her brother, Yuelun, told Apple Daily that the family believe she died from an electric shock while answering a call and that the phone and its accessories have been handed over to the Chinese authorities.
Her sister then wrote on social networking site Weibo: 'I want to warn everyone else not to make phone calls when your mobile phone is recharging.'
She said Ma had bought the iPhone in December at an official Apple store and was using the original charger to recharge the phone when the incident occurred.
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Apple, who manufactures the state-of-the-art smartphone, said it had launched a 'thorough investigation', adding: 'We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the family.
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'We will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter.'
China’s popular social media chat sites, called Weibos, were flooded with posts urging fellow iPhone users not to make calls while charging their phones.
And many warned to only use original chargers and avoid plugging in cheap copy chargers which are widely available.
'Be sure to select only qualified, certifiable products - the best is the original because safety is most assured. Don’t buy fake chargers!' warned poster Zhao Chao.
Apple products are popular in China but new items are quickly cloned by the country’s infamous copy merchants who produce look-a-like fake phones, laptops, iPads and iPods, which are often hard to distinguish from originals.
Mobile phones have a relatively low electrical output of between 3 to 5 volts - much less than the 36 volts it takes for a person to feel a shock.
But experts say if the charger or the circuit has a problem, such as a broken wire, it can lead to a shock of 220 volts.
Johnny Sin Kin-on, a professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, told the South China Morning Post: 'There is a risk using an electrical device while its installed battery is being charged, be it a shaver or a phone.'
The iPhone 5's much-vaunted launch last September saw thousands of Apple fans queue for days outside Apple stores across the world to be the first to get their hands on the state-of-the-art gadget.
Grinning customers were greeted with cheers and high fives from staff as they walked into stores ready to grab the latest hotly-anticipated smartphone.
It costs between £529 and £699 in the UK and $199 and $399 in the US, depending on the amount of memory, has a larger screen and is lighter and slimmer than previous models.
The news comes as it was revealed today that Apple has fallen off the top ten list of best-perceived brands in 2013.
The tech firm - known for its trailblazing innovation - lost its charismatic front man Steve Jobs in 2011 and then faced a chorus of disapproval over allegations of child labor in its supply chain, not to mention long-reported harsh conditions in its Chinese factories.
Most recently, the brand was convicted on Wednesday of conspiring to raise and fix the price of e-books in an attempt to dominate the market leader, Amazon.
Leader: After the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the brand has suffered some setbacks