I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like there’s been an accident at Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn’s Chengdu, China factory. At this point details aren’t completely clear but it seems the explosion at the factory plant unfortunately caused sixteen injuries and two deaths.

The Chengdu plant opened up last year in an effort to increase production of Apple’s iPad tablet. The explosion reportedly occurred at 7pm Chengdu time yesterday. Foxconn states that they are working with security officials to find out exactly what caused the accident. Both Apple and Foxconn have released statements regarding the explosion… 

Here’s what Foxconn said:

“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.”

In a statement to All Things Digital, Apple stated:

“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.”

Apple declined to say what the impact to production might be, or comment beyond the statement”.

Furthermore, it seems the explosion has indeed impacted iPad 2 production times, as Apple has increased ship times from 3-5 days to 1-2 weeks worldwide.

Here is some video footage of the explosion from yesterday.

[Gizmodo]