Building firm to be held liable for bridge collapse

The company that built the bridge in Ayutthaya that collapsed on Sunday, killing four people, will be held criminally liable, the provincial administration organisation (PAO) said yesterday.

Chatree Yuprasert, vice president of the Ayutthaya PAO, said Dee Nice (2009) Co, which built the Rattanakosin Bridge, is to blame for its failure and for the loss of lives.The company, which was hired by Tha Luang municipality to build the bridge at a cost of 8.2 million baht, will also be required to construct a replacement, Mr Chatree said.

Construction of the bridge across the Pasak River was completed in July 2012. In December, the structure was hit by a boat, but no repair work was carried out until February of this year.

The warranty on the bridge is valid until July 23, 2014, Mr Chatree said. Under the warranty, he said, the contractor must face criminal prosecution for the deaths and injuries resulting from the collapse of the original structure.

The firm must also provide financial compensation to the families of those killed and injured, he said.

Mr Chatree said the authorities have not yet heard from Dee Nice.

Ayutthaya police chief Pol Maj Gen Korn-ake Phetchaiyawet said police have questioned the mayor of Tha Luang municipality, his deputy and assistant, and people injured in the collapse.

He said police will decide who was at fault for the bridge's collapse. The engineers in charge of the structural design and supervision of the construction may be among them.

The parties at fault will be charged with recklessness causing deaths and injuries.

Police are waiting for evidence from crime scene investigators.

Ten of the 23 people injured in the collapse are still in hospital, two of them in a serious condition.

Meanwhile, Chumphon governor Peerasak Hinmuangka has ordered the closure of a similar bridge in Chumphon's Muang district in the wake of the Tha Rua tragedy.

Mr Peerasak said the bridge over the Tha Tapao River was closed as it was in desperate need of repair.

In neighbouring Prachuap Khiri Khan province, the engineering and city planning office has found a bridge built in 1981 crossing Khlong Ban Nang Rom to be tilting. It will likely be ordered to close for repairs.

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