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The Bali Bombings: 20 Years On



It’s been 20 years since the Bali bombings killed 202 people, including 88 Australians

BALI BOMBINGS- On that fateful evening of October 12, 2002, bars and nightclubs were packed with tourists out to enjoy a good time.

No one could have predicted the devastation that was about to unfold.

In the ensuing hours, a series of coordinated bomb attacks would tear through the vibrant heart of Bali, leaving carnage and destruction in their wake.

The bombings – carried out by a terrorist group with links to al-Qaeda – were the deadliest act of terrorism in Indonesia’s history.

For those who lost loved ones in the attacks, the pain is still raw. For the survivors, many of whom were left with life-changing injuries, the memories are just as vivid as ever.

The fateful night

The Sari Club was one of the busiest nightclubs in Bali on any given night. On October 12, it was no different. The club was full of people from all over the world – Australia, England, New Zealand and America – enjoying drinks and dancing to live music.

At around 11pm, a suicide bomber walked into the club and detonate his explosives. In an instant, the lives of everyone inside were changed forever.

The force of the blast ripped through the club, killing scores of people and injuring countless others. Some were lucky to escape with minor injuries; others were not so fortunate. Ambulances rushed to the scene but for many, it was already too late.

A second bomb exploded outside Paddy’s Pub just minutes later. The smaller blast caused less damage but claimed more lives; among those killed was 21-year-old Queenslander Josh Rykersingh.

With scenes of devastation all around them, panicked survivors fled into the streets trying to make sense of what had just happened.

Many had no idea where their friends or family were; all they knew was that they had to get out of there as fast as they could.

The end of 2002 was supposed to be a time of celebration for Kingsley Football Club. However, seven of their teammates were killed in the bombings.

Picture by Kingsley Football Club

It has been 20 years since that fateful night in Bali but for those who were there, and those who lost loved ones in the bombings, the memories are just as vivid as ever.

In an instant, 202 people from all over the world lost their lives in a senseless act of terrorism – 88 of them Australian citizens.

Bali Bombing memorial, Kuta

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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