At the scene, there are currently more than 10 fire engines, ambulances and 10 police cars. ... The explosion occurred in a “polishing plant” ... due to a special ... super-light dust ... used to clean the screens of the iPads. It is flammable ... someone was smoking. ... [But] the Chinese police initial investigation ... ruled out human factors.
All we can see is smoke everywhere. ... A witness told the [TV] reporter that the explosion happened at [7.10am EDT]. ... The reporter was told to stay away ... because there might be a second explosion. ... The explosion happened in A5 building ... the production line of iPad 2. ... This tragedy will have a great impact on the iPad 2 production line.
Two people were killed and 16 injured, 3 seriously.
Jesus Diaz is still here: [No more rapture jokes, thanks -Ed.]
Apart from the tragic loss of human life, the accident ... has for sure halted production in the iPad 2 assembly line. ... Only a few weeks ago, the waiting for online orders was at 5 to 6 weeks. That time has been decreasing ... [but] the accident will delay these times again.
Foxconn has sent us official details: ... "there were two fatalities with injuries to 16 others. ... We are working with medical officials to provide treatment to the injured ... [and] to contact the families of all employees affected by this tragedy. ... The cause of this explosion is being investigated by local police. ... Foxconn is cooperating fully. ... Production has been suspended at the site. ... The safety of our employees is our highest priority".
Clare Hopping fills in the blanks:
The Foxconn manufacturing plant produces many parts used in the Apple iPad 2, as well as the iPhone and Nokia devices. ... More than 400,000 people work at the site.
Early reports say the building had been struck by a bolt of lightning which might have caused [the] dusts to ignite.
Wait... what's all this about dust? Rik Myslewski explains:
Presumably akin to that which causes grain silo and some coal mine explosions. ... If the explosion were indeed caused by ... a dust accumulation and ignition, the ventilation practices ... at the Foxconn plant near Chengdu are – at minimum – highly suspect.
Ina Fried managed to get a couple of sentences out of Katie:
Apple declined to say what the impact to production might be, or comment beyond [this] statement:
“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.”
Mike Abramsky asks what it means, channeled by Philip Elmer-DeWitt:
He offers two scenarios:
Serious Business Impact. ... Chengdu manufactures most iPads and the explosion is serious ... Apple is unable to utilize alternatives or get back on stream by June. ... Negative for Apple's Q3 ... may equate to the lost production of 1.8-2.8M units ... 22-36% of our expectations for 8M iPad shipments [in] Q3. ... It could also cause production shortages for Q4/F11. ... Q3 revenue may be impacted by ... 4-7% and EPS ... 6-9%, which ... represents $5-7 downside to shares.
Less Serious Business Impact. ... Either Shenzhen still makes most iPads ... and/or Foxconn is able to re-start iPad production quickly at Chengdu. ... Revenue would be impacted by ... <3% and EPS ... <4% which ... represents less than $3 downside to shares.
Meanwhile, Gloria Sin stops and thinks:
It takes an unfortunate accident such as this to remind us that real people put their lives at risk ... to make us the shiny toys that we crave.
Local media have suggested that airborne dust, possibly including magnesium ... ignited inside a polishing workshop. According to earlier investigations ... workers had complained of poor ventilation ... [with] very high levels of dust in the air. They said ... their hands and faces were covered with the dust.
A worker who was ... in nearby block A7 described how the blast shook [his] building ... "just like an earthquake." ... One worker described the evacuation after the explosion as chaotic. ... Witnesses described scenes of weeping relatives ... attempts to speak to them were blocked by ... local government [officials] and ... police.
nysus: Capitalism is good at many things, but uplifting workers ain't one of them. The only thing will make apple respond is ... a consumer backlash ... to allow these workers to form an autonomous union.
DNS-and-BIND: Huh. Really? ... China already has a union for the workers. Didn't you get the memo? ... Ever since Deng Xiaoping hijacked the people's revolution ... each year has been better than the last. ... Workers work a lot, but get paid a heck of a lot better than back on the farm.
Nidi62: Kind of sad. ... Even the Foxconn buildings are trying to commit suicide now..
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