I haven’t always done it, but in recent months I’ve gotten used to leaving my iPhone charger always plugged in beside my bed. When I go to sleep, or if I’m relaxing from a long day at work in the evening, it’ll be right there for me to plug my phone in to charge, and I can leave it resting by me on my bed.
Sometimes, if I’m doing it late in the evening and forget about it, I can wake up to a phone that’s still plugged in despite being fully charged for several hours now. As it turns out, this may not just be a lazy man’s solution to a simple problem, but a potentially deadly position to put myself in.
While it may seem innocuous enough, this set-up claimed the life of a teenage girl in Hanoi, Vietnam recently, who it’s believed died after rolling over onto her iPhone charging cable as she slept.
Le Thi Xoan, who was only 14 years old, was found unconscious by her parents. She was then rushed to hospital, where after failed efforts to resuscitate her, she was pronounced dead. Electrocution was ruled as the official cause of death, as the police in the Hoan Kiem district of Vietnamese capital Hanoi found a burnt white cable on her bed. They believe a tear in the rubber casing may have caused the incident.
As you can see from the above photo, there are visible tears in the cable that have been patched up in a makeshift way, using tape – as many of us have done in the past. She plugged her phone in and rested it on her bed every night, but it appears that this time it was fatal. At this time it is unknown whether the cable was an official Apple product or a third-party cable. It may be an unofficial one as the cable pictured seems shorter than the 0.5-metre cable that is typical for Apple products.
In April this year, a 32-year-old man suffered a similar incident, wherein he almost died from electrocution while charging his iPhone. Wiley Day had his phone on charge while he was sleeping, when the chain he was wearing slipped between the metal prongs of the charger. The shock caused him to jump out of bed, with the flesh on his neck horrifically burning away.
“My necklace became a conductor. It was the worst alarm clock you could ever have in life,” he told WAAY-TV at the time. He was immediately rushed to be treated for second and third-degree burns at the University of Alabama’s Trauma Burn Intensive Care Unit, where he luckily survived.
Just in the US, charger extension cords are the cause of over 4,000 fires and dozens of deaths each year, according to the American Burn Association. Luckily for Wiley, he survived his accident. Our thoughts are with Le Thi Xoan’s family and friends at this time.