Death toll from Taiwan factory fire drops to nine, one missing. Four victims were firefighters.

Authorities in Taiwan say one person is missing after a fire at a golf ball factory Friday night, after forensic analysis revealed some of the bones found Sunday were not human.

Nine people, including four firefighters, died in the fire on Friday night. Launch Technologies Co., the operator of the plant, is a major global supplier of golf balls.

Authorities had earlier reported that the remains of two people had been found early Sunday morning and the bodies of a third person in the afternoon, bringing the death toll to 10. But a set of bones from the morning turned out to be inhuman, officials said.

An explosion caused part of the building to collapse at about 6:10 p.m. Friday, trapping firefighters and workers under the rubble, Taiwan’s Central News Agency said, quoting fire officials in Pingtung County. 20 minutes later there was a second explosion.

More than 100 people were injured in a fire at Ping Ting Technology Industrial Park. The fire was not extinguished until Saturday. The cause remains unclear.

According to Launch Technologies’ 2021 annual report, Taiwan is a major manufacturer of golf balls, with factories supplying major brands including Callaway, TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Mizuno and Wilson.

Launch Technologies, which is listed on the Taipei Exchange, shipped about 260 million golf balls last year, a fifth of the global total, the Central News Agency said. About 80% of its sales are in the US.

The Labor Ministry said on Saturday it would launch an occupational safety investigation into Launch Technologies and its parent company. The factory, which is in an export processing zone, has been fined in the past for violations found during inspections, the central news agency said.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen visited Ping Tong County on Saturday and met with the victims and their families, Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS reported.

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