Engineering Institute of Thailand (EIT) secretary-general Thanes Weerasiri is blaming Sunday's deadly suspension bridge collapse in Ayutthaya on an "unprofessional" repair job last year.
Mr Thanes inspected the Rattanakosin Bridge over the Pasak River in tambon Tha Luang of Tha Rua district yesterday after it collapsed on Sunday evening, killing four people and injuring 45.
Tambon Tha Luang mayor Chettha Pathumrangsee told him the 8.2-million-baht bridge had been built in 2011 to replace an old bridge that had been constructed in 1982. It was repaired in February 2012 after it was struck by a boat.
Mr Thanes said the repairs involved only the adjustment of vertical suspension cables. The main cables were not touched, resulting in a load-sharing imbalance that caused a main cable to snap.
He said the repairs had been unprofessional based on his visual observations, and no calculations of load sharing had been performed. He added that investigators should find out if the cables had been designed and installed correctly.
Four officials from the Office of the Auditor-General arrived at Tambon Tha Luang municipal office yesterday to investigate the tragedy.
Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan has asked Ayutthaya governor Withaya Pewpong to provide an investigative report within 15 days. Mr Withaya has formed a committee to study and confirm the cause of the collapse.
Mr Charupong said he hoped the debris would be cleared and river transport could resume in a few days.
In the meantime, he and Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt ordered provincial authorities and highway and rural road agencies to check the conditions of bridges nationwide.
Mr Charupong also visited the injured at hospitals yesterday. Each of the injured will receive 3,000 baht from the Thai Red Cross Society, while Ayutthaya authorities will pay 25,000 baht in initial compensation to the family of each person who died.
The bridge collapse killed four people, who were identified as Piriyaporn Suasaming, 10, Kesinee Chabasee, 54, Nanyawut Jaijong, 24, and Samart Yanpanya, 34.
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- Writer: Sunthon Pongpao