October 12, 2002

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Kuta's traffic chief Haji Bambang felt the blasts at his home, looked outside, and saw a huge, yellow, billowing mushroom cloud. Within 15 minutes he had gathered members of an Islamic community group he heads and was on the scene. He watched a car explode in front of the Sari Club. He heard screaming, mostly from the mouths of foreign tourists. "Help me," they cried. "Oh my God. Help me."

When Tansen and his grandson picked themselves off the floor of the clothing shop, they saw Mira on the ground with a slab of concrete on her back. Sai lifted the block off his grandmother. The street outside was chaos. A wall of flame was moving down the street, and the family started running to where their car was parked. Sai looked back. In the flames he saw people on fire attempting to crawl over the beams of a bamboo roof. When the family reached their car, a young man ran toward them, skin melting off his arms and back. They helped him into the car. On the ride to the hospital, the family did its best to keep talking, lying to the stranger — telling him they were almost at the hospital though they were stuck in a traffic jam. "He was screaming so loud," recalls Sai. They were able to get his name: Phil Britten, 22-year-old captain of the Kingsley football team. He had been watching teammate Paltridge doing his AC/DC impersonation when the bombs went off. They took him to the nearby Bali Clinic where they poured saline solution on his back.

By midnight, police and firefighters had arrived. Traffic head Haji Bambang coordinated the evacuation of the injured to local hospitals and clinics, making the trip back and forth for hours. "We were trying to get the victims out because of the danger of explosions — gas canisters in the bar, the Freon in the air conditioners — and of the roofs falling down," he says. He admits he and his team were afraid. "But we were inspired by the American firefighters who were willing to sacrifice themselves when the World Trade Center was bombed, so we wanted to do the same."

Theile and her three friends had walked right into the impending inferno. Theile's German visitor was badly burned; American Snodgrass suffered fatal wounds from flying debris. Avilás, the friend from Ecuador, was also gravely injured. When rescue workers moved her to the alley behind the Sari Club, one of her lungs was punctured and she made sucking sounds when she breathed. The workers put a plastic bag over the wound to prevent the lung from collapsing. When an ambulance finally arrived, it seemed Avilás had a chance. But by the time she was lifted into the ambulance she had died.

Nyoman Sudirka, the 21-year-old fiancé of Sari Club cashier Ayu, was frantic when he heard of the bombings. Nyoman and his friends drove a flatbed truck to the scene. They loaded as many injured as they could, while Nyoman searched vainly for his fiancé. An hour went by before Nyoman finally got a call from a friend saying Ayu was alive. He rushed to a nearby clinic where she was waiting to be treated for a burn on her left forearm. Nyoman yelled at the nurses, "Why don't you treat her? I'll pay you whatever you want, just treat her." Nyoman says many bule, or foreigners, were being treated first. Ayu says her injuries just weren't as severe.

Nick Burgoyne, a 38-year-old Yorkshire native who adopted Bali as his home, found out about the bombings at 12:30 a.m. He grabbed his camera and went to Jalan Legian, later selling some photos to newspapers and the bbc. Then he went to Sanglah Hospital, the chaotic center of the race to save lives. Burgoyne met a couple of vacationing physicians from Australia who had come to help: Pria, an anesthesiologist, and Veej, a plastic surgeon specializing in the treatment of burns. Some of the staff at Sanglah were already delirious from overwork, so Burgoyne helped Pria and Veej clean and dress burns.

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