18 Aug 2015

NZ Muay-Thai group felt Bangkok blast

8:03 pm on 18 August 2015

A group of New Zealanders participating in the World Muay-Thai Championships felt today's bomb blast in Bangkok.

The NZ team at World Muay-Thai Championship in Thailand.

The NZ team at World Muay-Thai Championship in Thailand. Photo: Supplied

The death toll from the explosion at a Hindu shrine in Bangkok has risen to 21, and the number of people injured stands at more than 120.

About 35 New Zealanders are competing at World Muay-Thai Championships in Bangkok, with even more coaches and parents supporting them. There are senior fighters, as well as children aged eight to 17.

Victoria Nansen, who is the head of the World Muay-Thai Council in New Zealand, said they heard a loud bang when the blast happened about 3km away.

"It is always hard when we've got the responsibility of other people's kids," she said.

"The children here, it's one thing to bring them over for fights, it's another when their parents find out that there's been a bombing just within kilometres of where we are."

Ms Nansen said she was left filled with paranoia as she spent time on the phone trying to account for the entire contingent.

The scene of a bomb explosion outside a religious shrine in central Bangkok late on August 17, 2015

Photo: AFP

Prime Minister John Key said there were about 470 New Zealanders in Thailand and the Government was doing its best to contact them.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said New Zealand's Embassy in Bangkok was still trying to confirm the nationalities of those killed and injured in today's deadly bomb blast.

The ministry had updated its travel advice for Thailand since the attack.

It was still advising caution in most parts of Thailand, including Bangkok, due to the threat of terrorism and potential for violent civil unrest.

It said New Zealanders in the Thai capital should keep away from the downtown area, be highly vigilant and take heed of instructions from local authorities on how to stay safe.

People with concerns about relatives there should try to make direct contact with them in the first instance. If there were ongoing concerns, people should contact the ministry on 04 439 8000 (if calling from within New Zealand) or +64 4 439 8000 (if calling from outside the country).