Authorities in Taiwan said one person remains missing after a fire Friday night at a golf ball factory, after forensic analysis revealed that some bones found Sunday were not human.
The fire, which occurred on Friday night, killed nine other people, including four firefighters. Launch Technologies, the plant’s operator, is a major global supplier of golf balls.
The authorities had previously reported that the remains of two people were found on Sunday morning and the remains of a third person in the afternoon, raising the death toll to 10 people. But officials said one set of bones from Sabah turned out to be non-human.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency, citing a fire official in Pingtung County, said an explosion caused part of the building to collapse around 6:10 p.m. Friday, trapping firefighters and workers under the rubble. A second explosion occurred 20 minutes later.
More than 100 people were injured in the fire at the Pingtung Technology Industrial Park. The fire was not extinguished until Saturday. The reason remained unclear.
Taiwan is a major manufacturer of golf balls, with factories supplying major brands including Callaway, TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Mizuno and Wilson, according to Launch Technologies’ 2021 annual report.
Launch Technologies, listed on the Taipei Stock Exchange, shipped about 260 million golf balls last year, accounting for a fifth of the global total, KCNA said. About 80% of its sales are in the United States.
The Labor Department said on Saturday that it would open an investigation into occupational safety at Launch Technologies and its parent company. The factory, which is located in the export processing zone, has been fined in the past for violations discovered during inspections, the Central News Agency said.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen traveled to Pingtung County on Saturday and met with the victims and their families, Taiwanese TVBS reported.
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