BANGKOK – A bomb exploded at a popular shrine in central Bangkok during evening rush hour Monday, killing at least 18 people, injuring more than 100 and leaving body parts strewn across the streets of a neighborhood full of five-star hotels and upscale shopping malls, officials said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which caused the worst carnage of any single attack in recent memory in the Thai capital.
Bomb squad members in blast suits responded to the area, and an officer announced over a loudspeaker, “The situation is still not safe. Please all stay back. There might be another bomb in the area.”
Steve Herman, a correspondent and bureau chief for Voice of America, said he thought it was thunder when the explosion first ripped through central Bangkok. He saw six bodies under sheets inside the shrine and one outside of it, he told CNN.
“I saw about five different ambulances screaming away from the scene. There’s a hospital right next to where the bomb detonated but already seemed to be full of people and full of ambulances,” said Oliver Holmes, Southeast Asia Correspondent, The Guardian. “At the major intersection where the shrine is, I saw glass strewn across the road approximately 50 meters where the bomb detonated. I saw there were hundreds of medics, police, fire brigades and looking at the ground trying to figure out what happened and if there were any wounded still in the area.”
The bomb that detonated just after 7 p.m. near the Erawan Shrine, a Hindu place of worship and tourist attraction.
It was fastened to a utility pole in front of the shrine, and the bomb squad was working to deactivate a second device about 50 minutes after the first blast, the Bangkok Post reported.