A South Korean construction worker reportedly killed by an exploding cell phone battery was actually killed in an industrial accident, say South Korean news reports and cell phone maker LG Electronics.
The unnamed worker was found dead on Wednesday with a melted cell phone in his breast pocket. Initial reports quoted police as saying they presumed the death was due to the battery exploding.
The initial reports "led to the unfair assumption by the media and the general public that an LG product was somehow the cause of this tragedy. This undeservedly damaged the company’s reputation for more than a day," cell phone maker LG Electronics said in a statement.
The story made headlines worldwide in part because several companies have had to recall batteries in recent years because of defects that could cause the batteries to explode and injure users. Earlier this year the world's biggest cell phone maker, Nokia, issued an advisory about faulty batteries in some of its phones. It offered to replace about 46 million Nokia-branded BL-5C batteries because they could short circuit and overheat while recharging.
In South Korea media reports on Friday said the death of the quarry worker was actually accidental. The Chosun Ilbo reported the man was hit by a co-worker driving a backhoe. Yonhap News also reported the same cause of death.
The Korea Times said that the phone likely caught on fire as a result of the heavy impact with the backhoe.