Bangkok Blast: Dubai resident's 7-hour ordeal tracking relative

A policeman directs tourists near the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, August 18, 2015. A bomb blast at a popular shrine in Bangkok that killed 22 people including eight foreigners did not match the tactics used by separatist rebels in southern Thailand, the country's army chief said on Tuesday. (REUTERS)

The Bangkok bomb blast yesterday near the Erawan shrine at the foot of the five-star Grand Hyatt Erawan hotel, is surrounded by a string of other large hotels and malls that draw tens of thousands of visitors each day sent ripples of fear across the world.

Residents and friends in Dubai, and across the world, were scrambling to phones and internet, to try and ensure their people in Thailand were safe.

The death toll from a bomb blast in the Thai capital rose to 21 on Tuesday with 123 wounded, police said.

For Dubai resident and Emirates 24|7 staffer Parag Deulgaonkar, the news of the blast sparked a seven-hour ordeal of fear, worry and tension.

Here he shares what happened:

“At around 6 pm Bangkok time (3 pm UAE time), my relative who was in Bangkok yesterday, WhatsApped me: ‘Bangkok is awesome’.

Less than an hour later, we saw the news of an explosion rocking the city, many dead and hundreds injured.

We immediately tried calling her, but her phone was switched off. We called her hotel, but they had no news about them. They only knew that they were embarking on their journey to the MBK Mall.

Then we started calling the hotel every 30 minutes, hoping had they lost their mobile phones, at least they would inform the hotel of their whereabouts. The hotel had no information of them.

‘The roads are blocked and there is a major traffic jam. It will take them at least two hours to reach the hotel from the mall’, said the hotel receptionist.

As the news of foreigners killed in the blast aired we got more worried. A tweet from the Indian consulate in Bangkok said: ‘No Indians had been injured’ and that partially helped my wife hold back her tears.

At around 12 pm Bangkok time, we called the emergency number to know if the Thai government had passed on any information of Indians injured in the blast.

‘We have no information as of yet of any Indians being injured. Please call us in the morning and we will share any information that we have’, said the attaché, noting down details of our relatives and the hotel.

‘We are getting calls from everywhere… our phone has been ringing non-stop. Please call in the morning and we will assist you’, he said.

We in Dubai and our relatives in India started getting worried. Six hours and no news. There was no way to reach them (their phones were not reachable).

“We called the hotel at around 12.30 pm (Bangkok time), hoping they might have reached the hotel. But they had not.”

It was at 1pm (Bangkok time), I saw my phone ringing - it was my relative.

‘We are safe. We were out… we took the sky rail and avoided the roads’, she said. Our seven hour ordeal and search for her had ended."

Click to read: Riteish Deshmukh, Genelia D’Souza escape Bangkok blast

Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes' narrow escape

Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes revealed Tuesday he narrowly escaped a bomb that exploded outside a religious shrine in Bangkok, with a last minute change of route likely saving his life.

Barnes, who as lead singer of Cold Chisel belts out songs such as ‘Working Class Man’ and ‘Khe Sanh’, was in the Thai capital with his Thai-Australian wife and other family members, including his daughter and grandson.

They initially planned to walk past the streetside Erawan Shrine to a dinner venue but instead decided to use an overhead walkway as it would be easier with the pram they were pushing.

The bomb exploded Monday barely 50 metres away as they were on the walkway, killing at least 21 people and injuring more than 120 others in an attack authorities said targeted foreigners.

"I had the pram with the grandson ... walking past the shrine would have been very difficult because it's a bumpy road. So I said to the kids 'follow me, I'll take you this other way'," Barnes told Australian Associated Press.

ALSO READ: 7 foreigners dead

"We were literally walking between two buildings on the walkway when the bomb went off. It was just frightening."

The Cold Chisel frontman, one of the most popular and best-selling Australian music artists of all time, added that: "I knew it was a bomb straight away."

Barnes is now trying to organise flights so his family can return to Australia as soon as possible.
"I was coming back to put out this record so it all sort of pales into insignificance really. I just want to get my family home in one piece," he said.

No Australians have so far been either confirmed dead or injured.



Print Email