Reports from this morning suggest that at least two employees are dead, along with at least sixteen injured in the explosion that rocked the Foxconn Chengdu production plant today in China at 19:10 local time.
So far we are fairly certain that the response included at least 10 each of fire engines, police cars, and emergency vehicles at the site of the incident, with authorities warning press of the potential of further explosions.
Foxconn released a statement shortly after:
We can confirm that at approximately 7 pm on May 20, there was an explosion at our Chengdu campus. At this point, we can also confirm that there were two fatalities with injuries to 16 other employees. We are 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.
The situation has been brought under control by the fire department and the cause of this explosion is being investigated by local police officials. Foxconn is cooperating fully with that investigation.
Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the completion of the investigation. 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 authorities have allegedly ruled out human causes for the explosion, but it's clear that a close investigation of the events of today will go into effect as soon as emergency services have dealt with the injured and the area made safe.
The explosion evidently occurred in the A5 building, a part of the iPad 2 production line. No news yet as to whether or how this will affect iPad 2 production- but then again, it's probably impossible for it not to affect iPad 2 production in some way. See video of the aftermath here.
Our best wishes and deepest consolations go out to the people and families affected by this tragedy.