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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 November 2007, 16:05 GMT
S Korea probes 'cell phone death'
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Authorities in South Korea are investigating the death of a man amid reports he may have been killed by an exploding mobile phone battery.

He was found at his workplace with a melted battery in his shirt pocket and punctured lungs and heart.

Phone maker LG said the cell would have been rigorously tested and was only sold in Korea but it could not comment further because of the police probe.

A welder in China was reportedly killed by an exploding cell phone in July.

Soot shape

The 33-year-old South Korean was found in a quarry where he worked in Cheongwon County in North Chungcheong Province, 135km (85 miles) south of Seoul, police said.

We confirm that the handset which is presumed to be involved in the incident is manufactured and sold only in Korea
LG statement

A co-worker said the victim was bleeding from the nose and his shirt had soot in the shape of a phone.

Kim Hun, a doctor at Chungbuk National University Hospital, told South Korea's Kookmin Ilbo: "There were burns on his left chest, and fractures of his ribs and spine as well as haemorrhaging in the lungs.

"Considering all these factors, it seems that high pressure from an explosion damaged his lungs and heart, leading to his death."

A police investigation is under way.

Phone maker LG issued a statement saying it rigorously tested its products and the lithium-ion polymer batteries had been approved for consumers by independent agencies.

It said: "We are not in a position to discuss this incident further, as an investigation by the Korean police department and the National Institute of Scientific Investigation (Nisi) is underway.

"We confirm that the handset which is presumed to be involved in the incident is manufactured and sold only in Korea."

Korean media said this was the first case of a suspected phone battery fatality in the country.

The case in China's Gansu province was attributed to the man's high working temperatures. The explosion apparently drove rib splinters through his heart and he died after emergency surgery.

High temperatures would not have been the cause on such a cold day in a Korean quarry, local media said.

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