Updated: Explosion At Foxconn’s iPad Factory Kills Three, Forces Shutdown

Update: Foxconn has released a statement indicating that the explosion last Friday at its factory in Chengdu, believed to be connected to the production of the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad, resulted in one further fatality, bringing the total to three, in addition to 15 injured workers.
The statement (via AllThingsD) also notes that an investigation, being led jointly by government officials and law enforcement officers, has initially found that the explosion was caused by combustible dust in a duct.
Local media claim that the factory, which was located in southwestern China, was connected to production of the iPad, writes Reuters. Although Apple has not confirmed this, an official statement from Apple (via AllThingsD) said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at Foxconn’s plant in Chengdu, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families… We are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event.”
Meanwhile, those who believe the plant was used for iPad production believe that the accident could impact up to one-third of total iPad 2 production — which had already been facing supply issues to meet demand. 9to5mac notes that delivery dates for the iPad 2 got extended to 1-2 weeks shortly after the event (it had been 1-3 days).
Original post: An explosion at a Foxconn factory in China that is believed to be the manufacturing site for Apple’s iPad reportedly killed two workers and injured several more on Friday, bringing production at the plant to a halt and potentially creating more challenges for Apple’s supply chain.
Chinese gadget blog M.I.C Gadget posted video of the aftermath of the explosion, which The Wall Street Journal reported killed two workers and injured 17. Details are still few and far between regarding exactly what caused the explosion, which happened at around 8 p.m. local time Friday, or 8 a.m. ET.
While no one ever confirms these kinds of things, the Foxconn plant is believed to be the site of iPad 2 production, which has lagged behind demand in one of those nice-to-have problems that is nonetheless still a problem. On Apple’s last earnings call, COO Tim Cook, who is responsible for managing Apple’s supply chain, said that the company was racing to make as many iPad 2s as it could to meet demand while carefully avoiding any disruption in its supply chain due to the devastation in Japan in March.
It’s not clear how Friday’s tragedy will impact Apple: Foxconn’s facilities are enormous and the only confirmation from local authorities stated the explosion took place in a “polishing plant” according to the WSJ’s report. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.
The Foxconn plant was also the site of several suicides over the past year, which focused attention on the regimented conditions under which modern consumer electronics are made.