20 years on: Bali Bombing survivors remember the night from hell
Perth’s Simon Quayle was on the dancefloor of the Sari Club on October 12, 2002, when a loud bang rang across the venue sending the club into complete darkness.
“The dance floor was really pumping at that time; I remember I was just standing still being the coach or parent, just overviewing, looking where everyone was, making sure there was no one alone in Bali and everyone was enjoying themselves,” Simon said.
Unbeknownst to the hundreds of party-goers, a suicide bomber had just walked into Paddy’s Bar across the street and blown himself up.
Twenty seconds later several more bombs hidden inside of a white Mitsubishi van parked outside of the Sari club exploded.
Down the road, Sydney footy coach Erik De Haart had only arrived in Bali earlier that day; like Simon, he was a coach celebrating the end of the footy season with his team.
Simon had just dropped a friend who’d had too much to drink back to the hotel when he heard the bang.
Twenty years after the horrific events, the pair shared their memories with Network 10 senior journalist Ali Donaldson for the new podcast Shockwaves: The Bali Bombings.
“I thought originally it must have been a gas main or something like that; I wasn’t thinking a bomb… I just didn’t know that something bad had happened,” Erik said.
“All of a sudden there’s this girl running past me screaming in a kind of panic, and then other people started running.
“My immediate thoughts then were for the boys; I have to go back and find out what happened.”
Erik recalls rushing to the aid of the survivors scrambling to escape the burning wreckage of the Sari Club. He recalls pulling people from the rubble when he noticed a group of women trapped under a collapsed piece of the roof – tragically, there was nothing he could do to save them.
“I made the decision to turn around – that I couldn’t help the girls and try and find someone that I could help,” he said.
“You make decisions under difficult circumstances, and it was the right decision, I know it was the right decision, but I’ve got to live with the consequences of that decision… I have to live with the screams of the girls and the smell of people burning.”
Network 10 Senior Journalist Ali Donaldson was who was one of the first reporters on the scene following the bombing in 2002. Ali returns to the Sari Club site 20 years after the October 2002 Bali Bombings where she listens as survivors, including Simon and Erik, recount their harrowing stories of survival.
The first two episodes are out now on the Listnr app.