Death toll in a Taiwanese golf ball factory fire rises to 9. Four of the victims were firefighters

| | Taipei
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Death toll in a Taiwanese golf ball factory fire rises to 9. Four of the victims were firefighters

Sunday, 24 September 2023 | AP | Taipei

Death toll in a Taiwanese golf ball factory fire rises to 9. Four of the victims were firefighters

Search teams found two more bodies on Sunday at the site of a golf ball factory fire in southern Taiwan, raising the death toll to nine, according to Taiwanese media reports. One person remained missing.

Launch Technologies, the operator of the plant, is a major global supplier of golf balls.

Four of the victims were firefighters. Taiwan's Central News Agency, quoting a Pingtung County fire official, said an explosion caused part of the building to collapse about 6.10 pm on Friday, trapping firefighters and workers under rubble, A second explosion followed 20 minutes later.

About 100 people were injured in the blaze at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park. The fire was not extinguished until the next day.

The cause remained unclear.

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

Launch Technologies, which is listed on the Taipei Exchange, shipped about 260 million golf balls last year, accounting for one-fifth of the global total, the Central News Agency said.

About 80 percent of its sales are in the United States.

The Ministry of Labor said Saturday it would open 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 President Tsai Ing-wen travelled to Pingtung County on Saturday and met with victims and their families, Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS reported.

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