Cheap USB Charger Kills Filipina Nurse in Australia

A cheap USB charger may have killed a 28-year-old Filipina nurse in Australia.

Mother-of-two Sheryl Aldeguer, who was set to start her work as theater nurse at Gosford Hospital, was apparently electrocuted as she talked on her phone while plugging it into a faulty charger. She was found dead by friends on April 23 while wearing headphones inside an East Gosford home with burns on her ears and chest.

Authorities have now issued a warning to consumers about cheap USB-style chargers and are investigating distributors of the USB chargers after the woman’s death as  the Department of Fair Trading, which has assisted with the case, suggested a sub-standard mobile phone charger could be to blame.

sheryl_aldeguer“The phone was also plugged into a USB-style charger. That charger had failed,” Lynelle Collins from the New South Wales Department of Fair Trading told AFP.

“Somehow power from that charger has connected to her body. Whether she had it (the phone) to her ear or was holding it in her hand, we don’t know.”

Collins advised consumers to avoid using their mobile phones while the devices were charging, but in any case they should avoid non-approved chargers.

“We are trying to alert people to the concern that sometimes when you buy really cheap chargers, they aren’t compliant with… (safety) standards,” she said.

Fair Trading said it had removed a number of unapproved and non-compliant USB-style chargers, travel adaptors and power boards from sale in Sydney after the death.

They said the devices did not meet essential safety requirements and were often made of inferior plastics and other insulation materials.