Bangkok Blast At Religious Shrine Kills 16, Death Toll Rising

During the evening rush hour in Bangkok on Monday, a deadly bomb blast shook downtown Bangkok, killing at least 16 people and injuring many more. According to the Bangkok Post, at least 117 people are injured, with the death toll slowly rising from the Bangkok blast, one of the largest bombings in Bangkok’s recent history.

Alexander Hotz, an American filmmaker, was in Bangkok when the blast happened and told USA Today as follows.

“It sounded like thunder. We were sitting in the office and at first we though it was just an amazingly loud rainstorm coming through. The one of our Thai interns came back upstairs and told us that things were going crazy.”

The Bangkok blast happened at 6:55 p.m. local time, when the bomb was placed inside of the Erawan Shrine. Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said that at this time, they can’t say what caused the Bangkok blast and if it was politically motivated, since the location of the bomb was where many political protests have been occurring.

Prawit said as follows.

“But it was clear that the perpetrators intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because it occurred in the heart of [Bangkok’s] business district.”

Police said that they discovered at least two additional bombs inside of the shrine that had not exploded, and believe that other explosives had been placed in the surrounding areas. The Erawan Shrine is a Hindu shrine that is popular with both Thai and foreign tourists, especially East Asian nations. The shrine is said to hold mystical powers for those who pray for good fortune.

Chareon Sida, a security guard at the mall next to the Bangkok blast site, told the New York Times as follows.

“Everyone was screaming and running. There was a huge fire coming from a motorcycle. No one dared to go into the intersection.”

This Bangkok blast marks the fourth bombing that has happened in Bangkok since the military took power, but none of the bombings have done as much damage or harm to the citizens as the Bangkok shrine blast did.

There is still no immediate claim of responsibility for the Bangkok blast. Reports say that a video camera caught a woman walking into the shrine 15 minutes before the Bangkok blast happened and placed a travel bag on the floor before leaving, but the Bangkok police have not confirmed these reports. The deaths from the Bangkok blast include citizens from the Philippines and China, but the hospital has not specifically released the nationalities of the casualties.

[Photo by Nicolas Axelrod / Getty Images]