The body of the girl, Jirana Woochingchai, was recovered by rescue workers who had spent more than an hour searching for her.
Rescue teams and police were called to the Krabi OrBroJor School on Tha Reua Rd, Krabi Town, at 5pm after her mother, Jinaphat Lambensa, 31, from Songkla, was worried and unable to find her.
Ms Jinaphat explained to police that she had brought her two daughters – young Jirana, and another daughter who is 7 years old (name withheld from reports) – to the school’s canteen, where she worked.
While Ms Jinaphat was cleaning, she let her daughters play, but when she was ready to go home, Ms Jinaphat asked her 7-year-old daughter where Jirana was. The 7-year-old said she didn’t know.
Panicked, Ms Jinaphat called for people to help look for Jirana.
Rescue teams soon arrived to join the search, and thought to look into the four grease traps near the canteen. The access entrances to the grease traps are about one metre apart and two meters deep.
Inside one of the grease trap that had its cover “half open”, rescue workers could see a child’s hand.
They entered the grease trap and recovered the body of young Jirana.
Krabi OrBorJor President Somsak Kitithornku has since ordered officials to prevent any further incidents from happening again.
“In this case, the incident happened on Oct 23, which was a holiday. Teachers came to work but most of them worked inside the buildings,” he said.
“Actually, we used to ban staff from bringing their children to work, as children used to play near the wastewater area.
“There is no playground here for children of this age. This is a high school. It is not a place for children so young,” Mr Somsak added.
Thai reports on the tragedy have focused on the plastic covers to the grease traps, some of which are broken.
To this, Mr Somsak said, “There was a plastic cover on the grease trap to make it easier to access, which is needed once a month. Plastic was used for the cover to make it easier for our female staff.”
However, Capt Sawai Chukaew of the Krabi Town Police The Phuket News this afternoon, “We were told by a witness who was there before any rescue teams arrived that the cover to the grease trap that Jirana was found in was not even in place to cover the hole.”
Meanwhile, Mr Somsak has assured, “We have just held a meeting to make it safer at school.”