23 hurt in temple floor collapse

Rescuers tend to some of the people injured after plywood sheeting being used as a temporary floor gave way at Wat Pha Ubonkaew in Warin Chamrap district of Ubon Ratchathani on Friday. (Photo from Sri Khai rescue team Facebook page)

UBON RATCHATHANI: Twenty-three people were injured after falling as much as six metres when a temporary floor collapsed during a foundation stone laying ceremony at a forest temple on Friday.

The incident occurred at the under-construction ubosot (prayer hall) of Wat Pha Ubonkaew at Ban Don Chad village in Warin Chamrap district, said Pol Lt Col Sanad Promprasit, an investigators at Huay Khayung police station, who was alerted at 11.30am.

Rescue workers from several foundations rushed to the scene to help the injured Buddhist devotees who had been attending the ceremony.

Police said the hall was about 20 metres wide and 32 metres long. The basement floor was paved with cement and there were stairs leading to the second floor, where the floor had not yet been cemented. Concrete paving blocks had been used to form a path across plywood sheeting that served as a temporary floor on which participants were standing.  

The temporary floor was supposed to have been able to accommodate the weight of about 100 monks and lay people expected at the event.

However, as the crowd gathered, the plywood sheeting, measuring about 3 by 4 metres, suddenly collapsed as it could not bear their weight. Those who had been sitting in the middle of the temporary floor plunged into the basement six metres below, said police. Rescue workers took the injured to nearby hospitals.

Phra Ajarn Thongkham Wachirawangso, a monk at Wat Pha Ubonkaew, said the temple would pay the medical bills for all those injured.

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