Family of shock victim to Apple: We demand answers

The family of a Chinese flight attendant who appeared to be fatally electrocuted by her Apple iPhone look to its maker after police found no faults with the charger.

Photo of Ma and her husband courtesy

Four days shy of her 23rd birthday, and 28 days before her highschool sweetheart planned take her to the altar, South China Airline flight attendant Ma Ailun died in her home, alone.

When her husband An Tao, a taxi driver who also worked at his family’s restaurant in an attempt to save up for their wedding, rushed home in the early hours of July 12, he found his wife lying on the bed, with a charging Apple iPhone 4 stuck to the right side of her neck.

The surrounding skin was black and burnt. Ma was still lifeless when authorities arrived. She was pronounced dead.

"Her right index finger and left big toe were incinerated from above the last joint," An said in an interview with Ren Min Wang, a national news website. "Apple must give an answer!"

The grieving husband certainly never expected to see "Stewardess electrocuted on iPhone" in the news headlines, with the subject be his wife-to-be.

Police and electricity experts conducted investigations of the scene on the same day Ma died, according to a report published by iYaXin, a local website. They found no problem with the circuitry in the house. They also found no fault with the phone's charger.

Oddly, the phone—with cracks on both sides and the buttons burnt—could still make phone calls, police reported.

So where to place the blame? And was it a genuine Apple product, or a faulty copy?

According to Ma's family, the phone was purchased at a price of RMB 3,700 (US$603) at the end of 2012 at Zhong Quan Square, a shopping mall in the heart of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in West China.

"The price suggests that the iPhone should be a genuine Apple product," the spokeswoman of a local Apple after-sale service center told iYaXin. She expressed her condolences and suggested Ma's family take the phone to the the service center and get inspected. If the device is confirmed to be a genuine Apple product, it can be reported to Apple China headquarters.

Ma's family said they turned the phone over to police, and have requested further investigation.