A BACKHOE digging near an old gas pipeline in Bang Bo district of Samut Prakan province without prior permission triggered a big explosion after rupturing it with the large ball of fire killing three persons and injuring 52 others, Sanook.com reported.
The explosion had a radius of approximately 100 metres in Soi Preng Wisuthathipbodee School, Preng subdistrict, with a 500-metre radius around the site having been blocked and only authorized personnel allowed access.
Of the three persons who died in this explosion two did so at the scene while one passed away at a nearby hospital. The 52 injured persons are being treated at various hospitals in the province.
The gas pipe blast destroyed 23 buildings, 23 cars, 16 motorcycles, and five other machines.
Mr. Tawan Thanakit-charoenphat, the deputy director-general of the Department of Energy Business, said preliminary investigation showed that the backhoe was digging near the natural gas pipeline without prior permission and struck and ruptured it.
There were warning signs along the route of this 36-inch pipeline which has been in use for a long time to deliver natural gas to factories at an industrial estate in this area.
PTT has complied with safety regulations by cutting the gas flow and informing the factories to use their reserve fuel.
Aftermath of the fearsome gas pipe blast this afternoon. Photos: Sanook.com