Mountain biker suffers third-degree burns from exploding iPhone

A Sydney mountain biker suffered perhaps the least likely mountain biking injury ever when his iPhone exploded in his back pocket following a minor fall Sunday, causing third-degree burns to his right leg so severe he required a skin graft.

Gareth Clear, a 36-year-old mountain biker, was out riding Sunday afternoon in the Sydney suburb of Manly Vale when he took a relatively normal fall off of his bike. Shortly thereafter things took a dramatic turn for the worse.

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“I fell off and hit my thigh, upper thigh. Minor kind of abrasions to my knee and then I noticed smoke coming out of my right leg,” Clear told 9News. “The first thing was just complete bewilderment about why smoke was coming out of — excuse my terminology — coming out of my behind.”

Clear’s iPhone 6 had been in his back pocket at the time of his fall, and by some freak occurrence, when he hit the ground he managed to do so in a way that pierced the lithium ion battery on the iPhone.

“It was a one-in-one-million chance, I hit a part of the phone which pierced the lithium battery and it exploded,” Clear told the Daily Telegraph.

“All of a sudden I felt this surging pain,” Clear told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I just remember looking at my leg and I had this black discharge all down my leg and this smell of phosphorus.”

Despite his best efforts to get his shorts off in a hurry the lithium had completely melted through his shorts and the entirety of the skin on the back of his thigh:


Despite his injuries, Clear says he isn’t upset with Apple — the iPhone’s manufacturer — for the freak occurrence. He is, however, unhappy with how the company has responded to his injury.

Clear says he received a phone call from the tech company that was more concerned understanding how the explosion happened than offering its condolences.

“It was a very technical-driven response, which surprised me,” Clear told 9News. “But look, I bear no grudges against Apple. It’s an iPhone, I purchased it.”

“No one’s asked me how are you? How’s your body? How’s the hole in your leg that’s just exploded, how’s that?” Clear continued. “What if that was my face? What if that was someone else’s face? I just don’t want the circumstances to be worse for someone else.”

Apple hasn’t commented on the incident, though they have told Clear that they are investigating what happened.

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