PETER CAVE: There will be an emotional homecoming today in Newcastle, for nine victims of the Bali bombings.
They’ll be transferred to a Newcastle hospital, many preparing to see their children for the first time since the bombings.
And as Anne Barker reports, two victims, a mother and daughter with shrapnel wounds, have spoken from their hospital beds about their ordeal.
ANNE BARKER: Julia Lederwasch may well owe her life to her 21-year-old daughter, Aleta.
When a bomb exploded near the restaurant where they were dining at Jimbaran Bay, Aleta Lederwasch panicked and ran, and not a moment too soon, her mother Julia jumped up to chase her.
JULIA LEDERWASCH: I was confused at first and Aleta just stood up and she said I knew this would happen and she got up to run, and so my mothering instinct was just to take off after her and be with her.
ANNE BARKER: Just seconds later another bomb exploded under the very table where the two women had been dining with a large group of friends from Newcastle.
Aleta Lederwasch says she initially feared her father, Dietmar had been killed in the bombing.
ALETA LEDERWASCH: I didn’t look back so I didn’t see, like I just started running, heard the second one go off, and we didn’t know if there was going to be another one or, all I was thinking about was where to run next.
ANNE BARKER: Even after the second bomb neither woman knew the full scale of what had happened.
Aleta Lederwasch thought she’d been shot in the leg – a ball-bearing had lodged in her calf.
Her mother Julia had no idea she too was badly hurt, with shrapnel so deep it can’t be removed.
JULIA LEDERWASCH: I thought something must have grazed me, so I didn’t do anything really about myself. I knew… but Aleta couldn’t move her leg, she couldn’t walk.
ANNE BARKER: The mother and daughter were among 23 bomb victims evacuated to Darwin on Sunday night. Eleven of them had been at that same dinner table of Newcastle friends.
Miraculously, Dietmar Lederwasch was unscathed, because he too had jumped up to follow his daughter.
But others in the group weren’t so lucky. One is dead. Two are missing. Many more were sprayed with shrapnel and could face months of surgery.
The Medical Superintendent at Royal Darwin Hospital, Len Notaras, says even then not all the fragments will be removed.
LEN NOTARAS: It depends on the location of the shrapnel, some shrapnel that’s on the surface will be very easy, embedded shrapnel that’s deep within say an abdominal cavity, or be it within an eyeball or conversely within the ventricle of a heart could be very difficult.
ANNE BARKER: So some of these people might have shrapnel for the rest of their lives?
LEN NOTARAS: That’s quite likely, quite possible.
ANNE BARKER: This morning, the nine Newcastle patients will be airlifted back to their hometown, to the John Hunter hospital, to be closer to family and friends.
And for Julia Lederwasch it’ll be an emotional reunion with the children she hasn’t seen since before she went to Jimbaran Bay on Saturday night.
JULIA LEDERWASCH: I feel greatly for my children and all the children in that group, because they haven’t seen us, and so people are saying, oh you’re fine, but every time I talk to my 18-year-old daughter she’s still crying. It’s like she’s been crying since Saturday night, because it’s been very fearful for her and for my son and for all the other kids in that group, so it’s a very distressing, traumatic time for them.
PETER CAVE: Newcastle schoolteacher, Julia Lederwasch. She was speaking to Anne Barker.
Bomb went off ‘under our table’