Fatal highway collapse shakes Bangkok, kills one

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At least one person has died after a huge construction girder over a busy road collapsed in the Thai capital Bangkok, police said Monday, with videos of the terrifying incident rapidly shared online.

The massive metal girder on the Lat Krabang Tollway construction project to the east of the city crumpled to the ground late Monday afternoon, catching pedestrians and drivers unaware.

It is part of a project to build elevated highways in an attempt to ease the city’s notoriously congested traffic.

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In a video shared by the country’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, the enormous metal platform -- connected to unfinished parts of the highway -- wobbles and then plummets to the earth.

At least one person had died with as many as eight injured, police said.

“We do not know yet what caused the accident,” Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt told reporters late Monday at the scene.

“We do not have any info about missing people yet,” he said, adding that four of those injured were in serious condition.

A rescue worker inspects the scene after a construction girder on an elevated tollway collapsed, killing at least one person, in Lat Krabang district in Bangkok on July 10, 2023. (AFP)
A rescue worker inspects the scene after a construction girder on an elevated tollway collapsed, killing at least one person, in Lat Krabang district in Bangkok on July 10, 2023. (AFP)

Chadchart said rescuers would wait for engineers to analyse the collapse before starting operations.

“We prioritize safety first. We will start searching carefully,” he said.

A clip shared online by a rescue worker shows the aftermath of the collapse, with sirens blaring as shocked residents and bystanders survey the damage.

The wrecked girder -- and much of the under-construction highway it also brought down -- can be seen blocking the street.

Forensic police and rescue workers inspect the scene after a construction girder on an elevated tollway collapsed, killing at least one person, in Lat Krabang district in Bangkok on July 10, 2023. (AFP)
Forensic police and rescue workers inspect the scene after a construction girder on an elevated tollway collapsed, killing at least one person, in Lat Krabang district in Bangkok on July 10, 2023. (AFP)

Rescue workers swarmed over the debris, with crushed vans and cars just visible. As night fell, rescuers could still be seen among the rubble.

Thailand has a poor construction safety record, with accidents a common occurrence.

In 2016, at least 13 people died after a building caved in during construction.

The incident brought renewed protest from labour groups, who had long warned about lax safety standards and low wages at Thai construction sites.

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