HAADYAI, Thailand - Watch repairer Samran Sudtanom would have been a likely casualty of the blasts here had it not been for the call of nature.
The 37-year-old Thai national was using the toilet when the blast occurred. He was spared the full brunt of the blast which left his shop, located directly opposite the motorcycle bomb site in Ponpichai Road here, heavily damaged.
He sustained minor wounds and cuts on his leg from the broken toilet door.
Looking forlorn when met at his shop which he described as a "disaster", Samran believed he saw the culprit who planted the motorcycle bomb there.
"Before I went inside the toilet, I saw a motorcycle colliding with a car at about 1.20pm (Thailand time) but it was nothing serious.
"He then parked the motorcycle in front of 7-Eleven and left hurriedly.
"After a while I went to the toilet beside my shop and minutes later, I heard a very loud explosion followed by people screaming," Samran said.
For Pakakul Kantiang, the 20-year-old cashier manning the counter at a 7-Eleven outlet, the blast was just too much to bear.
"I screamed for a long time because I was very scared. I have never seen or gone through such a terrifying experience before.
"It was so near to me and very loud. I hit the floor almost at once," Pakakul, who escaped with a minor cut on her face caused by a flying shard, said yesterday.
Workers and business operators were seen clearing the debris from the blasts here to get business back on track.
A random check on entertainment outlets and pubs in Haadyai showed that many businesses carried on as usual with a positive stream of patrons.
But this was not the case at the Hansa Entertainment Complex. Located a few hundred metres away from the Haadyai police station where one of the blasts occurred, the place was rather deserted, save for its employees.
The complex houses 10 outlets comprising clubs, bars, a massage parlour and a hotel.
One proprietor there rubbished claims that customers were afraid due the blasts.
"It is usually like that during the weekdays. We have more customers on weekends," he said.