An engineering expert from Khon Kaen University said yesterday that an incident on Wednesday in which a concrete panel fell on three shoppers at CentralPlaza Khon Kaen's parking zone might have stemmed from old pinning nails becoming loose and gusty winds further shaking them.
Watcharin Kasalak, who is also vice president of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, called on the mall to inspect all panels in the area and remove risky ones. He said this was necessary to restore customers' confidence and prevent a recurrence of the incident.
He added that the incident - in which a 45-year-old woman was killed, while her nine-year-old son and another shopper aged 29 were injured - was not caused by an engineering fault, but an unexpected result of wear and tear. He pointed out that the materials used had shown no problems for five years until Wednesday.
A relative of the surviving nine-year-old said the boy had been discharged from hospital but would not stop crying over his mum's death. She said executives from Central had visited the victims to provide financial aid.
Central Pattana executive Amorn Amornkul said yesterday that two teams of engineers were inspecting the area to find the real cause of the accident, now that it is confirmed that the materials and the installation were up to standard.
Saying that a safety net would be installed last night, he added that the mall's 20 fibre-cement panels would be removed in the next couple of days.
He said other Central malls would also be checked and similar materials removed as a precaution.