Floods damage Thailand's historic Mon bridge

THAILAND - Thailand's longest wooden bridge, the Mon Bridge (also known as Luang Por Uttama's Bridge) in Tambon Nong Lu of Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district, yesterday continued to be battered by currents and floating weeds, after a 40-metre-long section was swept away by floodwaters on Sunday.

Dozens of people yesterday went to look at and get souvenir snaps of the damage, while officials on long-tailed boats tried to drag the floating weed away from the tilting and unstable bridge.

Sangkhla Buri district chief Chatip Rujanaseri led a team to inspect the state of the old bridge and determine future action.

Chatip said it was suspected the damage resulted from strong floods, triggered by three days of heavy rain, and floating weed that pushed on the bridge pillars and caused them to fall. He said his office was aiming to declare the district a flood disaster zone after "the worst flood in 30 years."

He said it was fortunate there were no people on the bridge at the time and authorities would speedily repair the structure to make it stronger.

A bridge area food vendor Apiradee Aree, 24, said she heard a loud thud from the bridge and saw a section being swept away at 6.30pm on Sunday. Three nearby rafts were also swept into each other before sinking. She urged authorities to speedily fix the bridge before the tourist season resumes in a few months.