Foxconn Explosion Kills 2, Apple Offers Condolences to Victims

An explosion in a Foxconn factory killed two people on Friday, with 16 more injured. The accident happened in a factory in Chengdu that makes iPad 2s for Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal, and Apple issued a statement Friday afternoon expressing sadness at the accident and offering condolences to the victims.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Apple said in a statement provided to AllThingsD. “We are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event.”

Foxconn manufactures or assembles many of Apple’s products at factories all over China, and this facility apparently included a “polishing plant.” Speculation from local Chinese officials put the explosion at a cleaning stage near the end of the production process, and after the devices were fully assembled.

Apple’s statement focused on the victims and their families, but analysts had to look at the practical effect the accident might have on the company’s abilities to produce the iPad 2, the supply of which was already constrained.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu told The Mac Observer that Apple had production of the device spread out over more than 30 assembly lines in multiple manufacturing facilities, and that the loss of one or two didn’t worry him from the standpoint of iPad 2 production.

For its part, Foxconn confirmed the explosion, the fatalities, and the injuries. The company said it was, “working with medical officials to provide treatment to the injured employees and we are working with government and law enforcement officials to contact the families of all employees affected by this tragedy.”

Foxconn also said that it was cooperating with an investigation by local police. “The safety of our employees is our highest priority and we will do whatever is required to determine and address the cause of this tragic accident,” the company said.