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Bali bombing: Survivors mark 10 year anniversary

On 12 October 2002, two bombs ripped through two popular nightclubs on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people. Among the dead were 27 Britons, many of whom were living abroad. On Friday, survivors and families mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

“I had gone from being ecstatically happy on my wedding day – amazing honeymoon, we both had great jobs, life was brilliant, nothing had ever gone wrong… to rock bottom, world collapse.”

Polly Brooks had been married to Dan Miller just five weeks to the day when her life was devastated by the Bali bombings. The Hong Kong-based British couple had met on a previous trip to the island, and later become engaged there.
But her new husband, her best friend and bridesmaid Annika Linden, and the seven other friends in their party were killed by the Sari Club bomb.

Polly alone survived, running to safety across the burning and collapsed roofs of the club while she was on fire.

As the bombing overwhelmed emergency services in the aftermath, she was cared for by a group of Australians staying in a nearby hotel.

She suffered burns to 43% of her body and endured weeks of hospital treatment and 11 operations to deal with the scarring.

She also had to deal with the realisation and grief of losing her husband and friends, help to give information to identify their bodies, write letters from hospital for the memorial and funerals she could not attend, and start to rebuild her life.

“I felt like it would have been so much easier if I’d been killed – you’re just gone, job done,” she says.

“I felt like I had the rough end of the deal, everyone else had escaped, they didn’t have to deal with it all.

“I had so much pressure on my shoulders, to get better, to deal with all the grief and the funerals. I had to face all the parents of all my friends who’d been killed.”

That night in Bali, the first suicide bomber blew himself up in Paddy’s Bar, Kuta, at 23:05 local time.

Less than a minute later a much larger bomb was detonated in a van across the street outside the Sari Club by another suicide bomber. The damage was huge, setting off fires in the club and surrounding area.

Paul Lawrenson, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, was also in the Sari Club.
“Just before the explosion, I had returned from the toilet to find a very pretty Australian girl had taken my seat,” he says. “She asked me if I wanted my seat back. I declined and sat on a bench nearby.

“That girl died.

“The person I sat next to on the bench, who had shuffled down by one place so I could sit down, also died.”

Mr Lawrenson lost the lower part of his right arm. He will be back in Bali to mark the 10-year anniversary.

He says: “There were people in a state similar to mine who burned alive because they could not get out. So I was lucky and unlucky.”

After the bombing, it took him time to get back to work as a software development engineer and he set up a website to tell of his experiences. “I am mobile and independent,” he says. “I do not have post-traumatic disorder. I do not see a shrink. I still have a sense of humour. I have recovered to the best I can.”

Read full story on BBC News

Category: World News |

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Last updated December 6, 2016 at 12:34 PM
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