By KANATHIT SRIHIRANDEJ,
SIX FOREIGN tourists were injured when a car crashed into a crowd of worshippers at the Erawan Shrine on Friday night, in what police described as an accident.
The Thai driver, a 51-year-old woman who suffered a stroke behind the wheel, was also |injured in the accident and is in |a stable condition after under-going brain surgery, according to police.
Four Indonesians and two Singaporeans were injured.
Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Colonel Kritsana Pattanacharoen stated yesterday that the car crash at the Ratchaprasong intersection was an accident caused by the driver, Kaneungnit Thechoeran, suffering an acute stroke. She suddenly lost control of the car and crashed into the shrine while several tourists were worshipping at the Brahma statue, he said.
He said the incident was not linked to the deadly attack at Erawan Shrine last year, but Royal Thai Police commissioner-general General Chakthip Chaijinda had ordered officers to closely investigate the case and keep the public updated on the findings.
Pol Maj-General Songpol Wattanachai, another Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman, stated that officers were considering whether to charge the driver with reckless driving, and seize her car for investigation.
“We have already informed the embassies of the injured tourists, and coordinated with the Border Police to extend their stay in Thailand to let them receive medical care until they have fully recovered,” he said.
Pol Maj-General Somprasong Yentuam, commander of 5th Division of the Metropolitan |Police, said the two Indonesian tourists were still hospitalised |at Chulalongkorn Hospital, |while the other injuries were |minor.
The four injured Indonesian tourists were identified as Jonto Kurniawan, Rosita Kurniawan, Jilly Kurniawan and Lina Bong, while the two Singaporeans were identified as Ong Oney Toe and Huang Jialin.
CCTV footage showed that after the car crashed into the people, the car was driven backwards. Acting metropolitan police commissioner Lt-General Sanit Mahathavorn said that occurred because Kaneungnit’s daughter tried to stop the car and changed the gear into reverse.
Last August, a bomb blast at the shrine killed 20 people and wounded many more. The case investigation is ongoing.