Electronics plant in Thailand collapses, at least 7 dead and 57 injured

Friday, February 1st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BANG PU, Thailand (AP) _ The roof of an electronics plant collapsed on Friday, killing at least seven people working the night shift and injuring 57 others. About 100 women were working when the roof caved in, and three were still missing, officials said.

The government ordered the Taiwanese company that owns the plant, Delta Electronics, to suspend operations at all its factories in Thailand after the collapse of the three-story plant in the Bang Pu industrial park 20 miles east of Bangkok.

The roof of the 48,400-square-foot building apparently cracked and tore apart beneath the weight of about 30 tons of air conditioning equipment, said Police Lt. Gen. Pichit Kruanthechkup.

``I heard a loud crack and suddenly everything was falling down over our heads,'' Napa Nanta, 18, who suffered cuts on her head, said from her hospital bed. ``I escaped death because I was working next to the exit.''

Hundreds of rescue workers and police burrowed into the rubble as morning shift workers arrived to discover many of their colleagues trapped under ceiling mortar, iron beams and shattered air conditioning equipment.

Anusorn Mutahid, a company executive, said six women and a man were killed, and three women were unaccounted for. Pichit said 57 workers, all women, were injured in the 4 a.m. collapse.

Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit ordered Delta Electronics Thailand to halt operations at its four other factories while authorities investigate and check safety at the other plants, which are in the same complex. He said they were built to the same design.

Delta Electronics Thailand is a majority-owned subsidiary of Taiwan-based Delta Electronics. Its five factories at Bang Pu employ 14,000 people, mostly women who work in around-the-clock shifts.

The computer parts manufacturer is one of the few success stories in the depressed electronics industry, and had jumped into the market for liquid crystal display screens by clinching a deal to supply flat-screen monitors to Japan's Sony Corp.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand suspended trading of Delta shares Friday morning but allowed it to resume in the afternoon. Its shares closed down 5.7 percent.