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Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 11:00:12 AM
All wrecked up: A car still on fire behind Oliver Hotel, in Danok, Southern Thailand. — G.C. TAN / The Star
BUKIT KAYU HITAM: Burning vehicles and bloodied limbs greeted Douglas Alexis as he approached the site where a car bomb went off in Danok.
Alexis said a jeep was burning and the blast had badly damaged the ground floor of Oliver Hotel where several shops were located.
“There were five to six people lying on the ground outside the hotel. Some looked like they had had their hands and legs blown off,” he told The Star.
Alexis, who was on one of his weekly trips to Danok to visit his wife and child who live in Roi Phat about a kilometre away, said he was walking with friends about 200m from the hotel at about noon when he heard a loud sound and “something like firecrackers going off.”
“At first I thought it was the sound of shooting, because there is a shooting range nearby.
“However, when I went closer I saw the hotel building and its surrounding area badly damaged and there was smoke all around,” he said.
The 35-year-old, who is in the transport business in Penang, instinctively knew a bomb had exploded. After all, he had been in the midst of the Lee Garden bomb explosion three years ago in Haadyai.
He said policemen arrived at the scene quickly because the police station was close by.
The area around the hotel was cordoned off for several hours as police and army personnel scoured the streets to secure the area.
Customers at other nearby hotels were also evacuated.
“We are not under lockdown, but most places and shops in the affected area are closed and security is tight. It looks like the place is under military control,” he said.
Alexis said he is worried because Danok has not been known to be the target of attacks unlike towns like Patani and Narathiwat.
An escalator technician identified as Keong, meanwhile, had been looking forward to his bak kut teh lunch when the bomb went off.
“I couldn’t have been more than 100m away from where the bomb went off. I felt the impact and it was like someone pushing me.
“It was deafening and earth shattering,” said the 26-year-old.
Keong and his colleague had only minutes earlier parked their car in front of the Paragon Disco next to the hotel and were placing their order at the restaurant across the road when the explosion occurred.
“I turned around and I could see shattered glass and building debris falling down,” he said when reached on the phone yesterday.
Keong said everyone in the restaurant and neighbouring premises ran to the main road about 100m away.
“I heard some people screaming but I didn’t see any injured or dead people.
“I was not sure what happened. Some said it was due to gas leak. The police cordoned off the area soon after the incident,” he said.
“My colleague and I are really fortunate to escape unscathed,” he said.
The two had arrived in Danok on Thursday in the car belonging to their supervisor to work on a project.
Car owner Wong Jit Weng, 33, said he received a call from Keong at about 1.45pm to inform him of the blast.
“They had visited Danok twice in the last two months to work on the project,” he said.
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Courts & Crime, danok bomb blast
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