Lt Col Somkid Onchan of the Tha Chathai Police was called to the scene at about 2:30pm.
Police together with rescue workers from Mai Khao Municipality, Kusoldharm Foundation, Loma rescue rushed to the bridge and launched a search for the man, identified as Sutep Sae Man, 42, who previously had worked in Phuket as a tour guide.
When rescue workers arrived a crowd had already gathered on the bridge, and Mr Sutep’s Phuket-registered red Honda Scoopy i motorbike was still parked at the end of the bridge where a ramp leads to the water below.
Niaw Sae-ong, 53, told police that she was fishing on the bridge, when Sutep sat down near her motorbike and ate snacks. She walked up to her motorbike, and Sutep asked her for some water from her bottle, which was in her motorbike basket.
“He told me that he had come to do an errand at Phuket Gateway but he had been denied permission to pass through the Phuket Check Point because he had an address in Chiang Mai on his ID card. He also said that he was fully vaccinated,” Ms Niew said.
“I walked back to fish further along the bridge, and I saw him walk down to the foot of the bridge to do something, but then he slipped and fell into the water. He shouted for help twice, but I had to ask other people to help him because I cannot swim,”
“I shouted for anyone to help him and I saw him slowly sink under the water,” she said.
By the time people arrived to help, Mr Sutep had already disappeared from view in the fast-moving water under the bridge, Ms Niew explained.
Mr Sutep’s stepdaughter Pantita Piyachan, 18, later arrived at the bridge, and explained that her father left home about 10am yesterday.
“In the afternoon, an officer called my mother to inform her about the incident and asked someone to come,” she said.
Ms Pantita recognised the reality of the situation.
“Right now, my mother is in shock at Tha Chatchai Police Station. I hope we will find his body soon,” she said.
Rescue divers began their search yesterday afternoon and continued until nightfall made the search too dangerous.
The search continues for Mr Sutep.