October 12, 2002

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Naseema Theile, 30, had just wound up a dinner party at her home in Seminyak, two villages away. Theile was a German expatriate living with her two-year-old daughter Shana. Tonight she was entertaining a close friend from Germany, along with two buddies from the island: Deborah Lea Snodgrass, a 33-year-old American teacher, and Ecuadorian Ana Cecilia Avilás, a 46-year-old engineer. After dinner, Theile insisted the four go to the Sari Club for drinks. The women hopped on their motorbikes, arriving around 10:50.

Australians Tansen and Mira Stannard were also transplants to Bali: the couple had lived here for three years, ever since their guru in India died. Tansen, 57, is a doctor of alternative medicine, and 65-year-old Mira is a midwife who specializes in natural water births. On Saturday night they were in the center of Kuta's revel with their 25-year-old grandson Sai at the opening of a clothing store five doors from the Sari Club. The owners were friends from Brazil. That's the only reason they were there. Jalan Legian wasn't their scene.

Investigators say there were three bombs planted in Kuta: two smaller devices outside Paddy's and the Sari Club, and a larger cache of explosives driven up Jalan Legian in a Mitsubishi minivan. The first analysis showed the bombs had traces of four explosives: rdx, amx, ammonium nitrate and the plastic explosive C-4, which is used by militaries worldwide — and terrorists too. Investigators don't yet know how the devices were detonated, or by whom. They do know the explosions occurred between 11:05 and 11:15 — in a lethally precise sequence. Surfer Beirne got to Paddy's just minutes before. "I greeted the security man at the front door," he says. "I walked up the north side of the bar. At the back there was this group of guys, big guys. There were three pretty girls, blond. Pat from Zimbabwe waved at me. I went over. We were sitting real close together. I was looking directly at the bar. Then - Boom! - there was a flash, a little bit yellow and white at the top. It looked like there were two little flashes but it might have been my eyes. Everybody was silhouetted, all the heads. I remember I was on the floor. And I heard another - Boom! That was the bomb at the Sari Club. In between the first bomb and the next there was three seconds. I saw all the people running toward the door, a mass of people. I remember seeing flames on the roof. I leapt over a fence. At that instant the big bomb went off. I must have leapt just as it had gone off or just prior. I landed and looked both ways down the street. There was carnage. The security guard who had greeted me at the gate was sitting on the curb, covered in blood. I crouched down to see if he was O.K. He was calm and just staring out into the road. A girl ran up to me and asked me, 'Where have you been, where have you been?' I said, 'I was in Paddy's.' And she was screaming, 'My mother, my mother was in there. My mother.'"

In the Sari Club moments before, Ayu had been behind her cash register, enjoying the scene. She didn't hear the blast before she was thrown to the floor and momentarily knocked unconscious. When she came to, she was sitting on a pile of ice that had spilled out of a nearby bin. "It was cold," she remembers. The bar and her cash register were gone — along with the throng of customers that had been on the other side.

Several survivors recall an eerie darkness: the bombs cut off the power supply. Some looked up to see the Bali night sky through the blown-off roofs of buildings, the only illumination coming from fires ignited by the blast. For many, there was a morbid silence: their eardrums had ruptured. "It was hell on earth," says William Cabler, a 42-year-old surfer from California who was in the Sari Club. "All I saw was people burning, little girls with their hair on fire trying to put it out, and I'm telling them to run." He survived by breaking through a fence. "I just kept hitting it, hitting it and hitting it, broke my shoulder, but I got the fence open and I think a lot of people escaped behind me."

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