Apple investigating explosion at iPad 2 plant in China

21 May 2011

Apple says it is working closely with Foxconn to discover what caused an explosion at the Chinese manufacturing plant that produces iPad 2 devices. Two people died and 15 others were injured in the blast.

The plant in Chengdu is understood to be where Apple produces iPad 2 tablets.

Foxconn also manufactures laptops for Dell in the southwest China region. Apple is expected to sell close to 32m iPad devices this year.

The blast occurred at 7pm local time at the US$2bn computer factory. There are some reports that workers saw lightning strike the building beforehand. Others suggest the cause might have been the factory’s air conditioning.

The explosion is believed to have occurred in the polishing plant, the cleaning stage at the end of the production process, and involved ultra light dust. Security guards are understood to have warned workers the fumes could be toxic.

“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.

“We are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event,” Apple said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years