Australian witnesses believe one of the Bali terrorists threw a bomb under their table a split second before a deadly blast ripped through the beachside restaurant where they were dining.
“A bomb went off right under our table,” said Joe Frost, 20, of Newcastle, who had been out with about 17 friends from his home city when bombs rocked two cafes at Bali’s popular Jimbaran beach.
“Someone ran past and threw it under there,” he said. “The next thing I know I’m thrown to the ground. It’s all black and I can’t hear anything.
“I ran into the ocean because I figured that was the safest place.”
Mr Frost said he was eating at the open-air Nyoman Cafe when a bomb went off at the nearby Menega Cafe. The group jumped to their feet with the sound of the first blast. “We all stood up and looked around and we were hoping it was a gas explosion,” he said. Suddenly, another blast went off around them.
Mr Frost said he didn’t see the bomb thrower but two of his friends had. About the same time, a third bomb exploded, in Raja’s Bar and Restaurant in the heart of the Kuta shopping precinct.
Survivor Nicolas Scott told staff and volunteers at Bali’s Sanglah hospital that he saw a man throw a white bag into Raja’s.
Some of the Newcastle group were among the dead and wounded. Joe’s father, Adam Frost, a doctor, is volunteering at Sanglah hospital, where many of the wounded are being treated, some for horrific shrapnel wounds.
The doctor said an entire ward of the intensive care unit was taken up by members of the Newcastle group.
“There’s 10 of us in that ward, one has been evacuated and another three have died,” said Dr Frost, who was not with the group at the restaurant.
Survivors of the group were coming to grips with the tragedy yesterday. Julia Lederwasch, 49, and daughter Aleta, 21, suffered shrapnel wounds. Dietmar Lederwasch, whose ears were still ringing from the blast, told of a terrifying four hours when he could not find his daughter.
When the bomb went off, Aleta screamed and ran off, he said.
“I stood at the head of the table and had a panoramic view of the situation. There was a sea of people running and then it went all black.”
Mr Lederwasch said it was an emotional reunion when he visited his wife and daughter in hospital yesterday morning. “We just burst into tears and hugged each other,” he said. It was a miracle that others from Newcastle who were in Bali were not at the Jimbaran restaurant, he said.
At least eight families, totalling 40 to 50 people, including two dozen children, had travelled together to holiday in Bali, he said. But only about half the group went for the seafood barbecue.
“It was an absolute miracle that the kids decided to stay at the hotel because they were too tired to go out,” Mr Lederwasch said. “I didn’t know the extent of it until I got here (the Sanglah hospital) today. I thought our table had been OK.” He said his daughter had been worried about security during the trip.
Another Newcastle family had pulled out of the holiday because of warnings from the Indonesian and Australian governments that a terrorist attack was imminent in Indonesia, Joe Frost said.
Members of the Newcastle group well enough to leave Bali would go as soon as possible, he said.
Bombing victims transferred to Newcastle