Australian, US Survivors Relive Horror of Bali Attacks
Australian and US survivors of the 2002 Bali attacks have relived the horror of seeing burning victims and their friends killed as they testified in the trial of the alleged bombmaker.
Prosecutors accuse Umar Patek, who was arrested last year in the same Pakistani town where US commandos later killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, of building the bombs that killed 202 people in Bali, mostly Western tourists.
Jason McCartney, an Australian sportsman who became a national hero for his fighting spirit after he survived burns to nearly half his body, rolled up his sleeves and trouser legs to show judges his scars.
“I saw the building on fire; I saw people on fire. then I realised I was on fire,” McCartney said, telling the West Jakarta District Court on Thursday that he was relaxing with friends at a bar when he was knocked to the ground by a huge blast.
Two bombs erupted in Bali’s Kuta tourist strip on October 12, 2002, one at Paddy’s Irish Bar and the second shortly after in a van outside the nearby Sari club.
McCartney, an Australian rules football star before the attack, recounted the agony of his burns, the financial burden of hospital bills and the pain of not being able to return to professional sport.
“I do still have a great love for Indonesia, and Bali in particular. But I also have sadness about what happened, not only to me, but many other innocent people –and anger,” the 38-year-old from Victoria told the court.
Peter Hughes, whose swollen and blistered face was caught on television as he quietly told rescuers to help those more in need in the aftermath, was also at Paddy’s.
“I saw a lot of people laying on the ground. Because it was dark I couldn’t see whether people were alive or dead,” said the 52-year-old from Perth.
“I assumed a lot of people were struggling at that time. I was more worried at that time to see where my friends were.”
Steven Cabler, a 51-year-old American rock musician from California who was on a surfing trip in Bali with friends at the time of the attack, recalled the devastation and death at the Sari club.
“When the explosion happened, it was big, it was massive, and I hit my head very hard against my friend’s head, and had some fluid on me, and (it) exploded my eardrums,” said Cabler, who lost hearing in his left ear.
His friend Steve Webster died in the attack. “We cremated what was left of his body at home,” he testified.
Stuart Anstee, a 33-year-old from Tasmania, spoke with a faint voice, a reminder of the shrapnel that dug into his neck and almost killed him.
“I noticed blood spurting from my neck. I’d taken a piece of shrapnel that had cut the jugular vein,” he told the court.
“It was a cowardly attack, a gutless attack on innocent people.”
Hughes, who gave Patek an icy stare as he returned back to his seat after testifying, later told reporters that he hoped the accused would receive the death penalty.
Three members of the regional Jemaah Islamiyah terror network – ringleader Imam Samudra and the brothers Mukhlas and Amrozi – were executed by firing squad in November 2008 for their roles in the bombing.
“He’s got to go the same way,” Hughes said of Patek. “I think we just add one more to the list.”
Patek, 45, went on trial in February, charged with murder, bomb-making and illegal firearms possession. Prosecutors say they will push for the death penalty.
According to the indictment he was involved in assembling the bombs for the Bali attacks and also strikes on churches in Jakarta on Christmas Eve 2000.Filed under: Headlines