Bangkok blast: Relatives of deceased tell of agony and loss

PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

Shedding tears for loved ones killed as a result of the bomb blast at Bangkok's Ratchaprasong Intersection on Monday evening, three relatives of the victims have told their stories of agony and loss.

With the smoke from the huge explosion only just having subsided yesterday, many people rushed to hospitals in the area and the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Police General Hospital to check on the whereabouts and condition of their kin - or to retrieve their bodies.

The latest information from the institute in the afternoon showed that 20 people had died from the blast.

Pichitra Bamrungsuk, the sister-in-law of 30-year-old Suwan Sathman, said she and her family had been informed around an hour after the blast that her brother-in-law had been seriously injured in the explosion at the Erawan Shrine.

"Our family was having dinner together at our home in Ratchaburi's Suan Phung district when we heard about the bomb explosion in Bangkok," she recalled.

"At first, we only heard that my brother-in-law had been injured by the bomb and admitted to Police General Hospital. We felt relieved to hear that at least he was in the doctors' good hands and we hurried to Bangkok, but when we arrived, he had already passed away," she said.

Pichitra said Suwan, who had worked for the Than Tao Mahaprom Foundation at the Erawan Shrine for more than 10 years, had planned to marry his fiancee soon.

Her family, Suwan's parents and his fiancee all broke down in tears when they saw his body at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, she added.

Suwan's family will host his funeral at his home for five days, after which he will be cremated at the nearby temple.

Also at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Wian Niseeda, father of 32-year-old Suchada Niseeda - a Standard Chartered Bank employee who died as a result of the bomb attack - said the loss of his daughter was a major tragedy for the family.

It had taken the life of his nine-year-old granddaughter's mother, he added.

On Monday night at Police General Hospital, Kanoksak Changtam said he was seeking his sister, Waraporn Changtam, who had died in the explosion.

"My sister, her husband and some of her friends walked past the scene when the bomb exploded. Her husband was injured in the blast, but she died. I got the news from her husband," he said.

After hearing the news, he rushed to Police General Hospital, but still did not know where his sister's body was.

However, amid all the destruction and sadness, many people have volunteered to work on finding and helping victims of the devastating attack.

Pei Ying, a Chinese university student, went to Chulalongkorn Hospital yesterday to try to locate a Chinese tourist who had lost contact with her relatives after the bombing.

"I found a topic on the Internet asking for help finding an old lady, Weng Da, who had travelled to Thailand |with her friends but lost contact with her family after the explosion. Therefore, I decided to help her family, because I can speak Thai and I want to help others during this situation," she said.

She said the woman's name was not on the lists of those identified as killed or injured, but she was continuing to try to match her photo with details of those caught up in the explosion.

While she had as of yesterday failed to make any progress, she said she would continue to try to find out what had happened to Weng Da.