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by Mike Harvey, Technology Correspondent
A man has died after his mobile phone exploded, severing a major artery in his neck, according to reports.
The man, thought to be a shop assistant in his twenties at a computer shop in Guangzhou, China, died after he put a new battery in his phone. It was believed that he may have just finished charging the battery and had put the phone in his breast pocket when it exploded.
According to the local Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News, the accident happened on January 30 at 7.30pm. An employee at the shop told Chinese media that she heard a loud bang and saw her colleague lying on the floor of the shop in a pool of blood. The employee said the victim had recently changed the battery in his mobile phone.
Chinese authorities have yet to determine the make and model of the phone and its battery. Some reports indicated the store was a Lenovo shop, but it was thought that this might be because the shop advertised Lenovo computer products. Police were investigating whether the phone and battery were counterfeit.
Local reports said that this was the ninth recorded cellphone explosion in China since 2002. In the most high profile recent incident, in June 2007, a 22-year-old welder, Xiao Jinpeng, died from chest wounds when his mobile phone exploded while he was at work at an iron mill in Gansu province.
A local government inquiry found that the mobile phone battery had exploded due to the heat of the iron mill. Lithium batteries are widely used in mobile phones - but if they are overcharged or exposed to heat, the inflammable liquid inside can explode.
Motorola and Nokia, two of the world's biggest mobile phone makers, denied links to the distributors of problem batteries in China, suggesting they were counterfeit.
After the latest incident, the Shin Min Daily News published advice for consumers on how to avoid mobile phone explosions. The tips included:
- Always use original batteries. Be sure that batteries by the manufacturer are meant for your mobile phone.
- Never modify your phone
- Always use original battery chargers
- Do not expose your mobile phone to high temperatures, and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight
- Avoid long phone conversations
- Do not make or answer calls when the phone is charging
- Try to keep your phone in a bag instead of in a pocket
- Do not use damaged batteries