BANGKOK – Australian rock star Jimmy Barnes told the media today that he and his family are lucky to be alive after a last-minute decision to use an overhead walkway meters from the Ratchaprasong intersection bomb site.
Barnes, lead singer in the band Cold Chisel, his family and friends were on their way to a restaurant at the nearby Intercontinental Hotel when they had to decide the best way to cross the busy intersection.
Jimmy said I tossed up whether to walk on the footpath past the popular religious shrine on the corner, which was always crowded with worshipers and tourists, and then across the road.
Our other option was to take the overhead bridge that linked their hotel to Bangkok’s Skytrain. There was another overhead walkway from the Skytrain through a shopping center and into the Intercontinental Hotel. We opted for the overhead route – a decision that probably saved our lives.
As we made our way across the overhead walkway from the shopping center to the hotel, there was a very loud explosion and the glass lining the closed-in walkway shook and almost buckled from the shock-wave of the blast.
We had just walked right above the spot where the bomb had gone off and were about 50 meters away when the blast shook the walkway and the glass almost shattered. It was a really loud explosion and Jimmy, Jane and I knew it wasn’t thunder, a car backfiring or fireworks.
We rushed into the safety of the hotel and stood there for a minute, shaken and trying to decide on where was the safest place to be. The foyer of the hotel was chaotic with people running both in and out, but we were safe there. After a couple of minutes Jimmy and I left the women, Liam and young Dylan and walked out to the edge of the road.We were a safe distance away by now, but could see flames shooting up near the middle of the intersection we’d just walked over.
A large crowd had gathered at the corner and some police had arrived and blocked off the area.
Jimmy said it was a night to remember, and we all thanked our lucky stars that we took the overhead route and hadn’t walked across the road.
Authorities in Bangkok reported 20 people were reportedly killed in the explosion that took place last night at the Ratchaprasong intersection, five of whom are Thais and the rest foreigners.Those who suspected their missing friends and family members could have been the victims of the attack have visited the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Police General Hospital.Some of them are trying to find out if their loved ones are being treated for injuries or were killed in the explosion.
Head of the Institute of Forensic Medicine Major General Pornchai Sutheerakun said 17 dead bodies are kept at his institute and the remaining 3, including a girl whose nationality has yet to be identified, are at Chulalongkorn Hospital.
The Major General is urging family members of the victims to provide forensic police with important information such as dental identification and clothes which will help them identify the bodies quickly.