Three members of an explosive ordnance dispotal team were killed by a bomb explosion while examining a hole on the side of the Phetkasem Highway in Bacho district of Narathiwat province on Monday morning.
Pol Lt Col Prateep Suksarn, the duty officer of Bacho police station, said the explosion occurred about 9.50am.
Members of the provincial bomb squad had rushed to the scene, near Ban Sompoy in tambon Kayo Mati, following a report a bomb was thought to have been planted at the bottom of a hole on the side of the road.
The bomb squad turned on a mobile phone signal jammer while examining the hole, and confirmed there was a bomb there.
At that time, a bomb inside a 50-kg gas cylinder buried nearby exploded. The powerful blast hurled the bodies of Pol Sub Lt Chaen Warongpaisith, deputy leader of the squad, Pol Sub Lt Jaroon Mekruang and Pol Sgt Nimit Deewong about 40 metres away.
A chief warrant officer identified only as Somkiat of Narathiwat Task Force 32 was also wounded by the explosion, which in addition damaged damaged a Toyota pick-up truck containing the signal jammer used by the bomb squad.
Pol Sub Lt Polawat Thepsorn and other bomb disposal team members continued to scour the scene and found another bomb inside a 50kg gas cylinder, connected to wires leading to nearby trees. They destroyed it with a water canon.
Pol Maj Gen Pattanawut Angkhanawin, the Narathiwat police chief, said car tyres were set on fire on the highway last night to lure the authorities to examine the scene in the morning.