This message is to inform U.S. citizens in Thailand that according to local law enforcement, an explosion took place at approximately 7:00 pm August 17, at the Rachaprasong intersection in the central commercial district of Bangkok (near the Erawan Shrine, Central World mall, and overhead bisection of the two Skytrain lines). Media outlets are reporting multiple casualties. Local law enforcement and emergency services are responding and U.S. Embassy personnel are liaising closely with local authorities to gather information. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area and monitor local media for updates.
U.S. citizens who travel to or reside in Thailand are strongly advised to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) https://step.state.gov/step/. U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By enrolling, you make it easier for the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in case of an emergency.
The explosion — which reportedly occurred at approximately 19:00 local time, according to this article from BBC News — did not significantly impact the shrine itself; but officials were troubled that the bomb was detonated in what has been called a secure area. The wreckage of motorcycles which were burned out from the impact of the bomb litter the area outside of the shrine — reportedly caused by three kilograms of explosives which had been stuffed into a pipe inside the shrine; and that an electronic circuit which was suspected to have been used in the attack was found 30 meters from the scene.
The Grand Hyatt Erewan Bangkok hotel property is located near where the explosion occurred; and there is a message posted at its official Internet web site:
There was an explosion in Central Bangkok the evening of August 17. The safety and security of our guests, colleagues and neighbors is a top priority. Following news of the explosion, Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok opened its doors to allow the public to seek refuge during this tragedy.
To inquire about friends or family at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, please call 66-60-0035186 from Bangkok or 866-361-8962 from the United States.
Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is working with authorities during their investigation and will look to see how the hotel can work with relief organizations as the situation unfolds.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb; and the motive for the explosion is still unknown, as the incident is currently under investigation. Officials from the Thai military have ruled out a separatist attack by Muslim insurgents in the south.
Discussions of this incident — which include direct and indirect experiences — are currently under way at both Milepoint and FlyerTalk if you would like to participate; and you can also express your thoughts in the Comments section below.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families…