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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Tracing Bali victims from afar
English couple Kate Blackmore and Jamie Houghton
Found: Kate Blackmore and Jamie Houghton
The best and worst kinds of news - that a friend is alive, that a sister remains missing, feared dead - have poured into an e-mail discussion board set up by BBC News Online for people to tell their stories of the Bali bomb.

Australian women look at lists of the missing posted in Denpasar, Bali
E-mail has allowed news of the missing to spread rapidly around the world
Nearly 200 people were killed on Saturday night when a bomb ripped through a packed nightclub on the Indonesian island, turning a bar into an inferno.

But many bodies are so badly burned that identification will take some time - particularly as records may have to be located and flown in from thousands of kilometres away for the foreign tourists, believed to make up the majority of the victims.

Desperate for information, people have turned to our Talking Point section, and though many people remain missing, the global reach of the internet means that some friends have received the best news - that their loved ones were not hurt.

Rachel Blackmore sent photographs of her sister, Kate, and Kate's boyfriend Jamie Houghton, who is a keen surfer, as she contacted Talking Point, waiting anxiously for news, nearly two days after the blast.

My step-sister was there last night and we don't know if she is alive or, well, dead

Siva Iyer,
e-mail to BBC

The agonising hours ended happily for the friends and families of the young English couple, with Jamie confirming both were safe on Monday.

Rachel told BBC News Online: "To our immense relief Kate and Jamie have turned up safe and sound. I can't imagine what people still waiting to hear are going through."

The internet has let people from all over the world post messages asking for information - and has enabled responses to come from just as many different places.

Siva Iyer from Britain sent a message to Talking Point as soon as she heard of the bombing.

"I'm sorry to say that my step-sister was there last night and we don't know if she is alive or, well, dead," she wrote.

"Please if anyone knows the whereabouts of Anika Linden, please tell her to contact us as we are so worried about her."

Rapid responses

Information soon came - from Hong Kong - that Anika was listed as one of the missing.

A correspondent, Kieran, offered what reassurance he could: "They will be doing everything they can to find her."

Do not worry about Joe Griffiths, he is in Thailand and fine

Melanie Coene,
e-mail to BBC
Other pleas received responses that were as positive as they were quick.

Roland in France wrote: "Looking for news about best mate Joe Griffiths, who last contacted me from Bali whilst travelling in the Far East. Joe, if you're reading this, drop me a line and let me know that you're ok mate."

Another tourist, Melanie Coene, sent good news: "Roland in France. Do not worry about Joe Griffiths, he is in Thailand and fine. I was in the bomb but he had left for Thailand the week before."

Eulogies

Amid the cries for help and tales of the devastation, the Talking Point site has also become a place for eulogies for those known to have been killed in the Sari Club.

Stuart Cram comforts his sister Tia Byron, who lost her 14-year-old daughter Chloe in the bombing
Some messages are commemorating those known to have died
Ronaldo in Bali wrote of his "girlfriend and best friend of the past five years", Ana Cecila Aviles.

"Ana loved the Balinese people... She will also be missed by the ex-pat community, as a shining light and an example of her purity in the way she lived her life."

Former members of the Hong Kong Football Club - from where players and supporters are listed as missing - feared their colleagues were dead.

They wrote simply: "Our only hope is that they spent their last moments living life to the full as we remember them."


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Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


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