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Search for survivors goes on

Rescue workers search for trapped people on Tuesday after a six-storey building
Rescue workers search for trapped people on Tuesday after a six-storey building that was under construction collapsed in Thailand’s Pathum Thani province. AFP

Search for survivors goes on

Rescue teams continued recovering additional bodies from among the wreckage of a collapsed condominium in southern Thailand yesterday, but still could not find three missing, presumed dead Cambodian migrant workers.

At least eight people, including a mother and her young child, were killed as a result of Monday’s accident in Pathum Thani province north of Bangkok, according to Thailand’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. Another four to five people remain trapped under the debris more than 60 hours after the accident, which occurred as workers were pouring cement on the top floor of the six-storey construction site.

An additional 25 people were injured as the building crumbled in on itself, six of whom – including one Cambodian – remain in critical condition in hospitals, according to information from the Disaster Department and Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“All of the dead so far are Thai,” said an official from Thailand’s Foreign Affairs Ministry who declined to provide a name. “But the rescue mission is ongoing.”

But spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koy Kuong maintained that at least three Cambodians had been killed in the accident, though their bodies have not yet been found.

Thai police said they believed that many more than the 33 workers recorded for Monday’s shift were on the site at the time of the building’s collapse, so finding more victims remained likely.

Kuong said on Tuesday that as many as 30 Cambodian workers, all undocumented, were known to be working on the condominium at the time.

Thai courts yesterday issued an arrest warrant for members of the construction company responsible for the project.

Sub-contractor Diaw Prabjone, 43; assistant Pensri Kitipaisalnont, 48, who sought construction permission; engineer Saksit Inthong, 43, who designed the building; engineer Jira Khanman, who supervised construction; and managing director Chanaichon Kerdthes were all charged with negligence resulting in death, Pathum Thani provincial police said.

“The company is called Plook Plang Co Ltd,” said Prateep Boriboonrat, chief of Pratumthani Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Provincial Office.

When a phone operator was reached under the construction company’s registered phone number yesterday, he claimed the line now belonged to a different construction company, though he declined to provide the new name.

According to the government, the employers will be required to compensate the injured and families of the deceased.