Rescue workers carry the man from the rubble after seeing his hand emerging from the debris.
BANGKOK – At least three workers died and 17 others were injured when a six-storey building under construction collapsed just outside Bangkok, police said on Monday, as rescuers searched for an unknown number of missing people.
The planned student accommodation block crashed down at around 4.30 pm (0930 GMT) in Pathum Thani province, north of the capital, a police officer told reporters on condition of anonymity.
Rescue workers and police were using cranes to search for any people trapped inside the debris late on Monday.
“We can’t say how many are trapped inside but we are working hard to rescue them,” the officer said, adding that police would launch an investigation into why the building collapsed.
Dr Narong Sahamethapat, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Public Health, said the ministry deployed six rescue teams of specialists and emergency doctors to try to save the victims. They brought respirators and surgical instruments to the scene.
Health officials reported that 33 construction workers were trapped in the collapse of the six-storey condominium in Khlong Hok sub-district. Of them, 24 are Thai and nine are foreigners. Twenty-four people were found injured and already rescued from the scene.
A defiant and unyielding forearm emerges from the rubble – this is the amazing photo of the buried worker who survived a building collapse.
Using his free right arm, the desperate construction employee was able to signal for help and was eventually pulled from the heap of twisted metal and concrete.
Three died including a man who succumbed at about 9.45am on Tuesday while health officials were trying to supply saline solution and oxygen to him and planning to amputate his legs trapped under a beam.
Late on Tuesday officials reported that six people were trapped in the debris, about one meter under rescue workers, and only one of them showed vital signs. The 24-year-old man was rescued at about 6.30pm.
The building, which has been under construction for four months, was to be a dormitory for a local vocational college.
Witnesses said the building collapsed when the workers were pouring concrete on the top floor of the structure.
The Bangkok Post reported that Suchatchawee Suwansawad, director of the Engineering Institute of Thailand, said after inspecting the site that factors contributing to the collapse were the building design and the construction materials used. The construction process may not meet the required standards, he added.
“I’m saddened by the building collapse and I see that this incident should not have happened,” he said. “People are not allowed to enter buildings that are under construction.”
Labour groups have warned about lax safety standards and low wages at Thai construction sites, especially for migrant workers from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, who are often paid below the country’s minimum daily wage.