Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai condo collapse kills 3 Cambodian migrants

Thai condo collapse kills 3 Cambodian migrants

Rescue workers use cranes to search for people trapped after an under-construction six-storey building collapsed on Monday in Thailand
Rescue workers use cranes to search for people trapped after an under-construction six-storey building collapsed on Monday in Thailand’s Prathum Thani province. AFP

Thai condo collapse kills 3 Cambodian migrants

At least six people, including three Cambodian migrant workers, were killed late on Monday when a condominium construction project north of Bangkok collapsed, according to news reports, officials and witnesses at the scene.

Twenty-four people, at least one of whom is Cambodian, were also injured in the collapse, which was said to have happened while workers were pouring concrete on the top floor. Public health officials reported 33 people were buried in the rubble of the six-storey building – 24 Thais and nine foreigners.

A passerby told the Post by phone that shouts could be heard from people trapped under the debris as the search and rescue team attempted to find and extract survivors. Some victims were in critical condition, and a man whom health officials intended on rescuing by amputating his legs died yesterday morning while still trapped under a beam.

TV and internet footage showed people fleeing as the building crumbled in on itself, leaving only one shaft standing and still-moving workers caught between levels of the building.

The three Cambodians killed were working on the second storey when the structure collapsed; their bodies have not yet been located, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those killed were among 30 Cambodian migrants at the site, all of whom were undocumented.

“Our ambassador visited a victim at the hospital, and we are also working with Thai police to demand the company pay compensation,” ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said.

Thai authorities yesterday announced on a government news service that they had mobilised drilling machines and backhoe tractors to rescue victims, and said the government would “expedite compensation for injured workers and the close relatives of the deceased”.

Kuong said the deceased Cambodians included Im Pheur, 27, from Prey Veng’s Mesang district; Yat Pheng, 19, from Prey Veng’s Svay Ontor district; and a third person identified only as Uch, 27, from Tbong Khmum’s Memot district. The injured Cambodian was Chhim Chan, 60, from Kandal’s Lvea Em district, he added.

“We are not sure whether to take the dead [when found] back home or not. We are waiting for contact from their families,” he said.

Kuong was unable to provide the name of the construction company responsible for the site, and Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that because yesterday was a public holiday, the relevant people could not be reached for comment.

The collapsed building in the Thanyaburi district of Prathum Thani province was to be one of two dormitories intended to provide housing for a nearby vocational college. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation but was determined to be in part due to a substandard construction process, according to the director of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, Suchatchavee Suwansawat.

Thailand has long come under pressure for a lack of safety precautions taken at construction sites, which typically employ foreign workers.

“Poor construction safety and standards result in frequent work accidents and fatalities in Thailand, and migrants are also particularly impacted,” Bangkok-based migration expert Andy Hall said.

In February, seven Cambodian workers were among 11 people killed at a Thai hospital undergoing repairs.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BANGKOK POST

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Stock photo agencies cash in on Khmer Rouge tragedy
    Stock-photo companies selling images from S-21 raises ethics concerns

    A woman with short-cropped hair stares directly into the camera, her head cocked slightly to the side. On her lap is a sleeping infant just barely in the frame. The woman was the wife of a Khmer Rouge officer who fell out of favour, and