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Friday, May 20, 2011, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Explosion kills 2 at iPad manufacturing plant of Apple partner Foxconn [u]

Two workers were killed in a large explosion Friday at a Foxconn manufacturing plant in Chengdu, China, that assembles Apple's iPad 2. Apple has issued a statement acknowledging that it will look into the matter.

Updated:Following the incident, Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said the company is investigating what happened, Reuters reports. "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy at the Foxconn plant in Chengdu and our hearts go out to the victims and their families," he said. "We are working closely with Foxconn to understand what caused this terrible event."

Two people are confirmed dead and another 16 are injured, including three seriously, a statement from the Chengdu Municipal government said, according to The Wall Street Journal. The government also claimed that foul play was not involved in the incident.

The explosion occurred in a Foxconn "polishing plant" around 7 p.m. Foxconn is the overseas manufacturing partner of Apple.

TV reports from China show black smoke billowing from the facility as chaos unfolds in the streets. And MIC Gadget relayed a first-hand account, where more than 10 fire engines, ambulances and 10 police cars were spotted.

Reports out of China have said that the explosion occurred at Foxconn's building "A5," which is where the iPad 2 is allegedly produced.

Foxconn's assembly factories in China have been the subject of much criticism, and Apple was even forced to make a public statement last year after a number of suicides occurred at the main Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China.



Apple conducts an annual audit of its overseas partners and their factories. This year, that audit found one facility in the Far East that employed 42 underage workers, prompting Apple to terminate business with the facility.

Foxconn has also struggled meet demand for the hot-selling iPad 2. Earlier this month, a report from the Far East claimed that Foxconn has experienced a shortage of both labor and materials at its plants in Chengdu, China — the same city where Friday's explosion occurred.