A large explosion rocked a Foxconn plant in Southwestern China Friday, killing at least two people and injuring at least 16. Thick black smoke could be seen billowing out of the building, which manufactures Apple's iPad 2 tablet computers. Foxconn officials said the situation is now under control, reports The Wall Street Journal, but the cause of the explosion is still unknown.
"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," Foxconn said in a statement. In video footage taken after the explosion, which happened around 7 p.m. there, a chaotic scene unfolds as workers wearing surgical masks flee the perimeter of the building (video courtesy of Sohu)
Herman Lai at M.I.C. Gadget was early to report the incident. His sources say the Chinese investigators are ruling out the possibility of human error in the explosion. The incident is likely to bring renewed criticism of the Apple manufacturer, which has come under fire for the seventeen suicides that have occurred at the plant. In February, Wired magazine published an exposé of Foxconn, describing the nets surrounding the plant intended to catch employees intending to jump to their deaths. While the article found the work meticulous and robotic, it largely defended the manufacturer, noting that seventeen suicides for a company that hires 1 million workers isn't that high. By comparison, the suicide rate for American college students is four times that.