Bangkok bomb: Northern Ireland woman caught in fatal Thailand blast tells of shrine chaos
A Northern Ireland woman caught up in the Thailand bomb that killed at least 22 people has spoken of the chaos and horror at the scene.
Mairead Campbell, from Belfast, visited the religious shrine targeted in yesterday's deadly blast last Saturday, but she was staying in a nearby hotel when the bomb went off.
Ms Campbell said she and her friends had decided to stay inside their building rather than go outside.
"We heard a bang and went down to reception, where we were told not to leave," she added.
"We followed that advice, but an hour or two later we nipped outside.
"The scene was cordoned off and emergency people were still there. I'd describe the scene as chaotic. Up until now, I have felt very safe.
"We were only supposed to be staying in Bangkok for two days, but we extended our stay because we loved it so much."
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which caused the worst carnage of any single attack in recent memory in the Thai capital.
Bangkok has been relatively peaceful since a military coup ousted a civilian government last May after several months of sometimes violent political protests against the previous administration.
The area around Bangkok's Erawan Shrine is filled with hundreds of tourists, office workers and shoppers at any given time.
Police said the bomb was made from a pipe wrapped in cloth. "Whoever planted this bomb is cruel and aimed to kill," added national police chief Somyot Poompummuang.
"Planting a bomb there means that they want to see a lot of people dead."
The shrine is at a major intersection that was the centre of many contentious political demonstrations in recent years - raising questions about whether the attack was motivated by previous conflicts.
Thai police said it was too soon to determine the motive for the bomb, which security cameras caught going off with a powerful flash at 7pm local time.
At least 22 people were confirmed dead and 120 injured, according to emergency teams.