TAIPEI: Search and rescue operations were continuing on Monday in southern Taiwan to account for a missing worker after a fatal explosion at a golf ball factory, local authorities said.

The incident occurred on Friday at the plant belonging to Launch Technologies Co, located in Pingtung County. The fire raged for 28 hours before it was put out.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The local government said on Monday the tragedy killed at least nine people, including four firefighters and five factory workers, and injured more than 100 people. One employee remained unaccounted for.

Pingtung County Magistrate Chou Chun-mi said on Monday that, among the 56 people who were still hospitalised, 15 were receiving treatment in intensive care units.

The search for the missing employee continued on Monday and DNA analysis is required to help identify possible victims, an official from the local government told German news agency (dpa).

On Monday, the local government announced the company faces a fine of NT$2.4 million (US$74,651) because of its failure to manage dangerous chemicals.

Premier Chen Chien-jen said the central government has allocated NT$7.6 billion to enhance fire service apparatus and equipment.

Chen said in the near future, NT$8 billion will be allocated for the same purposes. -Bernama

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