Man dies after charging iPhone while lying in a bath

Terrible. Completely avoidable.



  • davebarnes

    I am shocked to read about this stupidity.

  • Person McPersonson

    Stupid or not, it’s still tragic. However this response doesn’t seem helpful:

    Recording a verdict of accidental death, Dr Sean Cummings said: “These seem like innocuous devices but 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.”

    You can’t control which brand of phone people buy. One may have a warning, one may not. I would think updating building codes to demand all outlets in or near bathrooms be on GFCI-protected circuits would prevent this and many other accidents.

    • GS

      He used an extension cord, so all outlets would have to be so equipped to help avoid behavior such as this. Or ban extension cords and bathtubs.

      • Pretty sure GFCI extension cords are a thing, too.

  • Mo

    Every generation gets the Darwin Award nominees it deserves.

    “They should attach warnings. I intend to write a report later to the makers of the phone.”

    You do that, kid. You’ll feel as though you accomplished something and make some lawyers happy.

  • rb763

    I would like more information than an article from a sensationalist newspaper. There shouldn’t be any danger from a charger cord and iPhone in the bath, should there? Somehow the 220v from the house electricity got in to the water.

    • Mo

      “Somehow”? What do you think the charger cord was connected to?

      • rb763

        Are you suggesting 220v AC is supplied to the phone? More like 5v DC and that shouldn’t do any damage. So either the charger is faulty or he had the actual mains extension cord in the bath. …or it was in a puddle… That’s why I am asking for more info.

        • Dan Kelly

          “[He] is believed to have plugged the charger into an extension cord from the hallway and then rested it on his chest while using the phone.”

          So there’s your answer. In UK the only sockets we allow in bathrooms are shaver sockets to try and avoid this.

          • rb763

            Same in N.A. Shaver sockets or GFI sockets. So did he actually have the extension cord end on his chest…that would certainly be the problem.

        • Even at 5V, the iPhone charger supplies a full amp when it recognizes it’s connected to the iPhone.

          I’m a bit surprised Apple doesn’t have overdraw protection, though.

          Don’t get me wrong, even with the Apple charger I’m not going to do this. But I would like to know if it was an Apple charger.

          • drx1

            over draw protection? I do not think the phone ever entered into the equation – except maybe was the “bait” to lure the dumb person to his death …

            The extension cord or power strip should have had over amp protection – yet not for some schmuck in a bath tub. shocking…

          • I meant in Apple’s charger. 🙂

            Sounds like it went: Mains, 220v extension, charger, 5v lighting cable, phone.

            If the 220v extension or the charger itself went in to the water, it’s lethal.

            If only phone and the 5v end of the lightning cable went in… well, I still think it’s potentially lethal. There’s at least an amp there on modern iPhones. But I’m curious if that’s one of the things the Apple charger tries to protect against.

            Even if we don’t consider the power itself, there’s enough potential energy from an explosion/fire to seriously hurt a person if just the phone goes in alone, though.

          • Assuming it was an Apple charger. Could have been a third party one without all the clever stuff Apple includes inside.

    • GS

      Exactly, perhaps the extension cord itself ended up in the water.

      • rb763

        That would be my guess…or else a faulty charger, perhaps 3rd-party.

  • Russ Bishop

    In the UK they don’t have normal outlets in bathrooms; they have special “shaver” outlets. Unfortunately this can defeat the intended safety protection as people want to plug things in and use extension cords and other devices to defeat the intended safety.

    In the US we use a different (and IMHO better) solution: GFCI outlets (I believe they’re called RCDs in Europe). These outlets detect when electricity is flowing outside the circuit and interrupt the current. The movie cliché of a toaster in the bathtub won’t work because the GFCI will trip and protect you.

    If you take an extension cord, plug it into a different outlet in your home, and run it into your bathroom you are at a very high risk of getting shocked.

    Remember to test your GFCI protection! If your outlet has a reset button it also has a test button. Push the test button once in a while. If the outlet doesn’t shut off then stop using it immediately and have it replaced.

    GFCI outlets can be linked to gather and protected by one master outlet. You can buy a GFCI-enabled tester at the hardware store for less than $10. Plug it in and press the button on the tester; it should safely trip the GFCI on the “master” outlet or the circuit breaker. Check the outlets in your bathroom, kitchen, outdoor outlets, or anywhere else water might be in use.

    • As I understand it, RCDs (or something similar—I forget the various abbreviations!) are mandatory at the distribution board in all new installations in the UK, so all sockets should have that protection. If you’re in an older house that’s not been rewired for years, though…

    • What are the chances of getting seriously hurt with a GFCI? I know it’s there to be safe, but (assuming it works, in that a TEST would shut it off) is it really quick enough to always be safe?

  • drx1
  • Loren Finkelstein

    “We can all be careless at times. You don’t think there is enough electricity to do this, but there is.”

    Don’t think there is enough electricity??? He didn’t just have the phone alone in the tub. It was plugged in. He had a wire going directly from the wall outlet into the bathtub.

  • James Hughes

    The extension cord killed him, what it was plugged into is irrelevant,