updated 07:40 pm EDT, Fri May 20, 2011
At least two dead, 16 injured at iPad 2 plant
As reported earlier today, an explosion at the Chengdu Foxconn factory around 7pm Friday night (local time) in southwestern China has left at least two dead and more than a dozen people injured, some very seriously. A video uploaded to YouTube (seen below) shows some of the panic and chaos following the explosion. All Things D reports that Apple has provided a statement expressing sadness at the tragedy and announcing they are "working closely" with Foxconn "to understand what caused this terrible event."
The Chengdu factory is said to be largely devoted to manufacturing the iPad 2 for Apple, though most Foxconn plants also manufacture other electronic devices for other companies, including Samsung, HP, Dell and Amazon.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Foxconn's plant in Chengdu," the statement from Apple reads, "and our hearts go out to the victims and their families." The Wall Street Journal, which broke the initial report in the U.S., has reported that Chinese authorities appear to have ruled out foul play in connection with the explosion, saying the blast did not have "a human factor." The resulting fires have been brought under control by local firefighters, and images from the scene showed smoke billowing into the sky. The damaged building is specifically said to be numbered A5, which concentrates on iPad 2 production.
How this will affect Apple's inventory of the top-selling tablet remains unclear, as the company has already been struggling to satisfy demand. Analysts say any impact on supply should be short-term, as production of the iPad is spread around various facilities and any disruption can be swiftly taken up at one of the other buildings or plants. Apple itself has only commented on the injuries and loss of life, and has not changed the 1-2 week availability window on their web site. [via Source]