Australian authorities are working with the Thai government to determine if any Australians were injured in a devastating bomb blast that killed scores of people in Bangkok overnight, with Australian rock icon Jimmy Barnes just metres from the explosion.
The blast rocked the Erawan shrine, at a major city-center intersection, around 10pm Sydney time (7pm local time).
Thailand is one of the most popular holiday spots for Australians, with around 900,000 tourists visiting the country each year. The blast occurred just 1km east of the popular Siam Square shopping and entertainment district.
National police chief Somyot Poompanmuang claimed a pipe bomb had been used in the attack he said was unprecedented in Thailand.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on Tuesday morning it was working with Thai authorities. Neither DFAT nor Smart Traveller have updated its travel warning for Thailand, with Australians advised to "exercise a high degree of caution."
The deadly blast was captured on camera.
"The Australian government deplores the attack in Bangkok," DFAT wrote in a statement.
"The Australian embassy in Bangkok is in contact with Thai authorities to determine whether Australians have been affected. At this stage we have no information that Australians are among the deceased or seriously injured."
Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes, holidaying in Thailand with family and friends, was just metres from the shrine when the bomb exploded. His friend, journalist Alan Parkhouse, wrote the group could have been caught in the middle of the blast, if not for a split-second decision.
"Jimmy, Jane [Barnes' wife] and I tossed up whether to walk on the footpath past the popular religious shrine on the corner, which was always crowded with worshippers and tourists, and then across the road. Our other option was to take the overhead bridge that linked their hotel to Bangkok's Skytrain... We opted for the overhead route – a decision that probably saved our lives," Parkhouse wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.
"As we made our way across the overhead walkway from the shopping centre to the hotel, there was a very loud explosion and the glass lining the closed-in walkway shook and almost buckled from the shockwave of the blast. We had just walked right above the spot where the bomb had gone off and were about 50 metres away when the blast shook the walkway and the glass almost shattered."
Barnes' wife, Jane, posted an image of the bomb's aftermath on Twitter.
A bomb or something has exploded in Bangkok, very close to us! #explosioninBangkok— Jane Barnes (@jane13barnes) August 17, 2015
Barnes' son, entertainer David Campbell, also took to social media to express his relief at his family's safety.
Relieved to know my father and family are ok. They were close to the bomb but unharmed. My thoughts to all whose lives were lost #Bangkok— David Campbell (@DavidCampbell73) August 17, 2015
Reports state over 100 people were injured in the explosion.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. Thai forces are fighting a low-level Muslim insurgency in the predominantly Buddhist country's south, but those rebels have rarely launched attacks outside their heartland.
Concerned relatives can contact the DFAT hotline within Australia: 1300 555 135 / Outside of Australia: (+61) 2 6261 3305Suggest a correction