XI'AN,CHINA - A seven-year-old boy in north-western China is in critical condition, after he was electrocuted on Saturday when he urinated on a power transformer installed in a shed that he had apparently mistaken for a toilet.
The boy, whom the Chinese Business News identified as Fang Haohao, was waiting for a bus with his parents at a bus stop in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, when he felt the urge to urinate.
He went to relieve himself in an open space behind some hoarding as instructed by his father. Barely two minutes later, Mr Fang heard loud crackling sounds coming from where his son had gone, said the Xi'an-based newspaper.
Rushing over, he saw thick smoke coming from a shed whose entrance had a plastic-sheet curtain. His son was lying inside, his whole body on fire.
Mr Fang quickly carried the boy out of the shed and ripped off his burning clothes.
By then, Haohao's hair was all gone and his body was covered in blisters.
Mr Fang hailed a taxi and rushed his son to a hospital, which transferred the boy to another one with better facilities due to his serious injuries.
According to a doctor, nearly half of Haohao's body was burnt. His injuries were so bad that his skull was visible and his left arm had to be amputated.
Police went to the accident scene but could not establish who owns the shed, which bears a small sign indicating that it is a 10,000-volt electrical substation.
"We come from a village. My son must have thought it uncivilised to pee by the roadside in a city. But at his age, how could he have known that is a substation?" Mr Fang said in tears.
He also questioned why there were no prominent warning signs around the substation and why it was not isolated from the public.
According to Qiu Zhendong, a secondary-school physics teacher in Xi'an, urine, which consists mainly of saline, is a good conductor of electricity.
Mr Qiu told the Chinese Business News that an electrical current will flow through a jet of urine even if the liquid comes into contact with a transformer for just a split second.
"A transformer, human urine and the ground could form a good electrical loop, causing electric shock to a human body," said the teacher.
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