Prompted by instinctive unease, Mohd Zahrin’s mother returned home at lunchtime during her factory shift to see him. She found the 16-year-old lying as she left him in the morning. When she moved closer, she found his body unresponsive and cold, but with no sign of injury or disease other than bleeding from his left ear, still wearing an earphone.
The coroner found that the Malaysian teenager had died of electrocution on Dec. 3, according to local media reports.
He is thought to have been shocked through the earbuds plugged into his phone while it charged.
Graphic photographs circulated locally on social media are claimed to show blood coming from Zahrin’s ear, which appears to be blackened. In one image, an earphone bud is blackened on one side.
His mother had assumed he was sleeping when she saw her son lying on the floor earlier in the morning and had left for work. But, feeling uneasy, she returned home at lunch, thinking she might cook for him, to find him still lying there.
“She then tried to wake him up and as she touched him, the boy’s body felt cold,” Salam District police chief Deputy Superintendent Anuar Salam told The New Straits Times.
There was no sign of injury other than bleeding from his left ear. “The victim was wearing an ‘earphone’ and his adjacent cellphone was charging,” Salam said.
A medical officer who was rushed to the home said that Mohd had died that morning. The coroner later confirmed that the Malaysian teenager had died of electrocution.
Salam confirmed that there was a “burning effect in his left ear,” reported Utusan.
When one of his brothers later went to turn off the charging cable, it gave him a small shock, according to reports.
Mohd lived in Rembau district in the south of the country, about 50 miles south of Kuala Lumpur.
He was described as a cheerful and friendly student and was much liked, according to his schoolmates.
“Although he’s a form four student, but he’s very close to junior students, he likes to joke and tease us,” one of them told Kosomo.
A family member, who asked not to be named, told BH, “He often cooked for his mother and brother during school holidays and the night before the incident he had asked his mother to come home for lunch together. We are very sad with his departure.”
Last year, in Vietnam, another teenager was reportedly killed by a faulty cable that was charging her phone on her bed as she slept.
Le Thi Xoan, 14, was found by her parents lying on her bed unconscious in November last year, The Sun reported. Her parents rushed her to a local hospital but doctors were unable to revive her.
A burnt white iPhone 6 cable was found on her bed by police in the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. It is thought that tears in the cord’s casing exposed the live wires inside and that she had rolled onto it in her sleep.
An Alabama man narrowly escaped death while he was sleeping with his phone on charge in his bed.
He told ABC 13 that he fell asleep in his bed while wearing his dog tag around his neck. However, the dog tag fell between the charger and the extension cord, turning his necklace into a conductor.
Wiley Day suffered second- and third-degree burns on his neck and hands, the news outlet reported.