Society

Man Dies Charging iPhone While Taking A Bath

| by Michael Doherty

After a London man's death from taking his charging iPhone into the bathtub, a coroner warned that the phone's chargers can potentially be lethal.

Richard Bull, 32, was pronounced dead by paramedics on Dec. 11, 2016, after his wife found him in the bathtub, where he had been charging his phone while bathing, Daily Mail reports. Richard's burns were reportedly so severe his wife, Tanya, thought that he had been attacked.

Richard was taking a bath before he was to meet with family to exchange Christmas gifts when he was electrocuted by his iPhone charger.

"We received a dispatch call from control saying they were contacted by his wife. She was upset, having returned home," said Police Constable Craig Patterson, who investigated the incident.

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"She said her husband was dead inside a bathtub. There was some confusion about an electric cable in the bathroom. There was the possibility of it being a suicide," said Patterson, who said that the police ruled out suicide once they arrived at the scene.

Bathrooms in the U.K., by law, do not have electrical wall outlets in them.

"When we arrived, the ambulance service was there," Patterson said. The EMS workers had unplugged the extension cord, but reportedly said Richard was already dead.

"The extension cord was coming from the hallway leading into the bathroom," Patterson said. "Initial circumstances indicated suicide. The question was considered in the original call, but the cable wasn't near the bath, it had been run there to charge a mobile phone."

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Investigators believe Richard had been balancing his phone on his chest in the bathtub as it charged, and that the part in between the extension cable coming from the hallway and the phone charger came in contact with the bath water, leading to his electrocution.

Coroner Dr. Sean Cummings warned that while iPhones may seem like "innocuous devices," the phones can be "as dangerous as a hairdryer in a bathroom."

"They should attach warnings. I intend to write a report later to the makers of the phone," Cummings said, referring to iPhone maker Apple.

"I have worried that so many people and especially teenagers, that can't be separated from their phones, don't know how dangerous it is," said Richard's mother, Carole.

Richard's brother, Andrew, lamented the "needless and tragic accident," according to The Sun.

"We can all be careless at times. You don't think there's enough electricity to do this, but there is," said Andrew.

In a similar case in 2015, a 24-year-old woman in Moscow died after she reportedly dropped her phone in the bathtub while it was charging.

Eugenia Sviridenko's housemate found her body in the bathtub after she had been electrocuted by the phone charger, according to the Sunday Express.

"I saw her phone which was on the charger and at the bottom of the bath," said Yaroslav Dubinina. "I unplugged it and pulled her out ... her body was still shaking from the shock."

Police investigating the death refused to disclose whether the charger was a licensed Apple charger, which are reportedly designed to short out when submerged in water.

Sources: Daily Mail, The Sun, Sunday Express / Photo credit: Facebook via Daily Mail

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