Anand Parthasarathy

Bangalore: The Chinese media says a worker in an iron ore plant died after the mobile phone that he was carrying in his breast pocket, exploded, shattering his ribcage and sending a fragment into his heart.

The incident which occurred on June 19 has only now been reported by the English language Shanghai Daily and other local newspapers.

Xiao Jinpeng (22) was a welder — and there is speculation that the high ambient temperature in his work spot might have played a part in the tragedy.

Reports flooding Internet sites on Friday have generally jumped to conclude that the phone’s battery might have exploded — hardly surprising after a series of incidents last year where big brand laptop computers burst into flames spontaneously.

Mobile phones use the same type of batteries, carried by portable computers — Lithium ion, where carbon forms one electrode, and a metal oxide, the other — however the power requirements are much smaller.

While major laptop makers have recalled the defective batteries in batches (most of them made to a process perfected by Sony), they have been less proactive in coming up with a safe alternative.