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Bali boat explosion: Dublin man on horror moment tourist boat explodes

By Catherine Devine

Published 16/09/2016

Police investigators examine the Gili Cat 2 boat following an explosion while it was enroute to nearby island of Lombok, at Padangbai Port in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (AP Photo)
Police investigators examine the Gili Cat 2 boat following an explosion while it was enroute to nearby island of Lombok, at Padangbai Port in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (AP Photo)
The boat was carrying tourists from the east of the Indonesian island of Bali to the neighbouring Gili Islands

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.”

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.

“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.”

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.

Irish Independent

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