Friday 18 August 2017

'People’s limbs were missing'- Dublin man on horror moment Bali boat exploded

Hospital workers assist a foreign tourist who was injured from an explosion on a ferry boat traveling from the island of Bali to Lombok, at Penta Medika Hospital, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesian September 15, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto
Hospital workers assist a foreign tourist who was injured from an explosion on a ferry boat traveling from the island of Bali to Lombok, at Penta Medika Hospital, Karangasem, Bali, Indonesian September 15, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A Dublin man has spoken of his horror holiday after being on the Bali boat that exploded, killing two and injuring 20.

Dublin natives Niall Noonan (26) and his girlfriend Rachel O'Hagan (26) were on the boat to the Gili islands when it blew up.

“The boat departed at about 9:30 local time. We all got on the boat, laughing and smiling. There were thirty on the boat; 20 on the back and 10 on the front,” Niall told Independent.ie.

“Within a couple of minutes we heard a big explosion and everything shattered. There were no flames but we could smell the gas so we presumed it was the engine. I didn’t think it was a bomb.”

A police forensic team examines a ferry boat which was carrying tourists from the island of Bali to Lombok following an explosion on board, at Padangbai port, Bali, Indonesia September 15, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto
A police forensic team examines a ferry boat which was carrying tourists from the island of Bali to Lombok following an explosion on board, at Padangbai port, Bali, Indonesia September 15, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto

Niall said the initial fear was that the boat was going to sink, so everyone grabbed life jackets “in complete shock”.

“A lot of people were trapped under the benches. People weren’t in a good state. People’s limbs were missing. We were trying hard to stay calm.

The Gili Cat II ferry, which exploded between Bali and Lombok Jahmin Lerum / Youtube screengrab
The Gili Cat II ferry, which exploded between Bali and Lombok Jahmin Lerum / Youtube screengrab

“One man went into cardiac arrest in the middle of the boat. His girlfriend was sitting beside him crying frantically. He was there for three or four minutes. A Portuguese man and I had to lift him onto another boat. I don’t think he died but I’m not sure.”

Read More: Two Irish people on Bali ferry explosion which killed two tourists

He said he saw another girl “trapped badly” at the back of the boat.

“I don’t think she made it,” he said. “People were in a very bad way”.

Niall told Independent.ie that a mother and daughter were also injured at the back of the boat.

“The mother’s legs were trapped and her daughter was screaming asking for help,” he said.

A bigger boat came and took the passengers back to the mainland where they were questioned by police.

“We were just going to the Gili islands, something everyone does. My friends had been there and had recommended it.”

Niall said he feels “incredibly lucky” that he and his girlfriend Rachel escaped with no injuries.

“My thoughts are with the families of those injured but we have to look at the positive that we’re ok.

“If you went left on the boat you were ok, if you went right you were badly injured. It was just luck.”

In an eerie coincidence, Niall said that during the safety demonstration the crew member said to grab life jackets “when the boat sinks” instead of “If the boat sinks”.

“An English girl laughed and pointed out what he said. It was just a coincidence, his English wasn’t great.”

“We were in paradise; we thought nothing like that could happen.”

Niall and Rachel had only been in Bali four days when the tragedy occurred.

“We have two weeks here so we’re going to try and plough on with the holiday. What happened is traumatic but we’d make it worse if we came home,” he said.

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