BUKIT KAYU HITAM - Burning vehicles and bloodied limbs greeted Douglas Alexis as he approached the site where a car bomb went off in Danok.
Alexis said a jeep was burning and the blast had badly damaged the ground floor of Oliver Hotel where several shops were located.
"There were five to six people lying on the ground outside the hotel. Some looked like they had had their hands and legs blown off," he told The Star.
Alexis, who was on one of his weekly trips to Danok to visit his wife and child who live in Roi Phat about a kilometre away, said he was walking with friends about 200m from the hotel at about noon when he heard a loud sound and "something like firecrackers going off."
"At first I thought it was the sound of shooting, because there is a shooting range nearby.
"However, when I went closer I saw the hotel building and its surrounding area badly damaged and there was smoke all around," he said.
The 35-year-old, who is in the transport business in Penang, instinctively knew a bomb had exploded. After all, he had been in the midst of the Lee Garden bomb explosion three years ago in Haadyai.
He said policemen arrived at the scene quickly because the police station was close by.
The area around the hotel was cordoned off for several hours as police and army personnel scoured the streets to secure the area.
Customers at other nearby hotels were also evacuated.