Woman, two sons injured by falling arch

A 35-year-old mother and her two young sons were injured at Government House yesterday when a wooden arch erected as part of National Children's Day festivities collapsed on them.

A gust of wind toppled the arch onto the three at 3.25pm, as they rested behind the structure in the front yard of the Santi Maitree Building. Khon Kaen mother Chutima Ploenwong was knocked unconscious and suffered a back injury, while sons Jessadaporn Khomsing, 10, and Anucha Khomsing, 7, were hurt.

PM's Secretary-General Suranand Vejjajiva visited the three at Mission Hospital and said his office would take full responsibility for their care. He said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had expressed concern about the three and ordered a fact-finding committee be set up to probe what caused the accident within three days.

PM's Office spokesman Tossaporn Serirak said Chutima had a scratch above her eyebrow and was experiencing back pain. An X-ray result showed a crack on her 12th vertebra, while Jessadaporn suffered bruising and Anucha required three stitches to a head wound. The three remained in hospital last night for further observation.

The celebration saw lots of kids visit Government House, with a long queue forming to sit in the prime minister's chair and many enjoying activities.

Yingluck launched a National Children's Day 2013 stamp set featuring a picture of 20 boys and girls from 10 Asean countries holding hands. It the longest stamp ever produced in the 130-year history of the Thai Post Office, at 124 millimetres.

While presenting certificates to 60 children who won an essay competition, Yingluck was told by a boy that he wanted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra - Yingluck's brother - to return to Thailand, and so he hoped that the government's charter amendment efforts would be successful.

Yingluck, accompanied by her son Supasek Amornchat, earlier presided over an event to kick off Children's Day at Sanam Suea-Pa, hosted by the Education Ministry. In her speech, Yingluck urged all parties to give importance to children and youth and to give them public forums to think and express themselves creatively. She also urged kids to be disciplined and dutiful, as called for in the motto she gave for the occasion: "Uphold Discipline, Enhance Knowledge and Bring Thailand towards Asean". She vowed to have all ministries boost children's development in aspects such as academic achievement, intelligence and good attitude and virtue.

At Parliament, where 1,000 free "first bicycles" were to be handed out to children, parents and kids formed a long queue as early as 5am to get the bikes, only to find rules for the event had changed and a lucky draw would be held. Many parents who came early also complained about officials' refusal to let them into the building in the morning, when it was pouring with rain.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, opening a Children's Day event at Army headquarters in Bangkok, said all the armed forces saw the importance of children and prepared the event well including a display of armaments.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, hosting activities for kids at City Hall, handed out 300 scholarships, each worth Bt1,000, and urged kids to join ongoing events until January 20 at 37 youth centres, 30 libraries and nine sport centres.

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