Editor’s Note: This story is being updated.
A bomb exploded on Monday evening in Erawan Shrine at the heart of Bangkok’s hotel district claiming 18 lives and wounding 117 others, according to initial reports from officials who responded to the scene, news said.
The Erawan Shrine is among the top tourist attractions of Thailand. Its bombing marked the worst in a decade. Voice of America reports the blast was heard around 7:00 p.m. Bangkok time near Ratchaprasong intersection, where edifice such as five-hotels and upscale stores make the spot Bangkok’s busiest. It draws the largest crowd in the evening as hundreds visit the shrine, according to Steve Herman from VOA.
“We have seen six bodies under sheets the Erawan shrine,” said Herman, reporting from the scene. A victim was also rushed to a hospital via an ambulance.
More bombs suspected
In a report from USA Today, the police “found a suspicious object near the blast site” and fear there might be more bombings.
“We are now looking for another two to three bombs as we have found one suspicious object,” Reuters quoted national police chief Prawut Thawornsiri.
“There could be another explosion, so we have blocked off the crime scene and are asking bystanders to move back,” he added.
A local told BBC he was on his way to the mall near the shrine when he heard the blast. “There was total chaos,” the local said. “That area is usually very, very crowded as it’s in the middle of the city and it’s usually very packed. A local hotel is full of injured patients.”
Update: According to CNN, the reported bombs were not bombs but mere garbage bags. “Our (explosives) team is still working at the site, and we will close down the traffic around the area until noon tomorrow,” Chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said in an interview.