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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Bali blast 'hero' plays down role
Nicola Trott, Jonathan Hartery and Rachel Griffiths
Nicola Trott, Jonathan Hartery and Rachel Griffiths
A survivor of the Bali bomb blast who was hailed a hero for helping save two friends has played down the praise.

Jonathan Hartery, 25, from Barry, south Wales, ensured his friends Nicola Trott and Rachel Griffiths managed to escape from the wreckage of the Kuta nightclub, where 200 people are thought to have died, including 33 Britons.

Jonathan Hartery is hugged by his mother
Jonathan Hartery is hugged by his mother

Arriving back at Heathrow on Monday night, Ms Griffiths paid tribute to Mr Hartery for his quick-thinking.

But he insisted he was simply following his instincts and he added he felt anger towards the bombers, who are believed to be Muslim extremists.

Mr Hartery sustained cuts, burns and bruising as he led the women to safety from the Sari nightclub.

"I just knew we had to get out of there; I don't know how we got out, we just did.

"I could not see anything, then I heard screaming and noises everywhere. I called out for Nicola and Rachel then I found them - that's when I saw the flames."

Meanwhile, Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan was joined by assembly members in offering condolences to the many victims of the blast.

Mr Morgan praised the bravery of those who had escaped and those who helped them to do so.

Rachel Griffiths and Nicola Trott
Rachel Griffiths and Nicola Trott: Deeply shocked

He said the incident had probably only succeeded in destroying the tourist industry of a beautiful island and denting the Indonesian economy.

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones said the attack was abhorrent and did nothing to advance the cause of those who perpetrated it.

Ms Trott, from Gelli, Rhondda, began a backpacking trip two weeks ago and was in the nightclub in Kuta with two friends when the bomb exploded outside.

Backpacker Nicola Trott
Nicola had planned a six-month holiday

Seconds later, she and Ms Griffiths, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, were buried under rubble as the building collapsed.

Fortunately, none of the three friends - who all share a house in Cardiff - was seriously injured.

Nicola had to have stitches for leg and feet wounds, Rachel suffered burns on her back, and all suffered cuts and bruising.


We tried to get on the roof, but there were flames everywhere

Rachel Griffiths, blast survivor

On Monday night, they were reunited with their families at Heathrow.

Rachel Griffiths praised the bravery of Mr Hartery, who had hacked his way into the rubble to rescue his friends.

"It was terrible. John saved our lives," said Ms Griffiths. "There was a huge bang and we felt what we thought was a massive explosion from outside.

Richard Thomas, escaped blast
Richard Thomas: Escaped alive

"Nicola was partly trapped under the roof, which had caved in. We tried to get on the roof, but there were flames everywhere.

"With John's intuition, he said 'Dig a tunnel and get out of the roof' and we managed to climb out the back end of the building by the toilet block, where people were helping each other get out."

Rachel's father, Denzil, said the news of her dramatic experience came as a great shock to him, after he had lost his wife during a routine operation just seven weeks ago.

The travellers had been planning their six-month backpacking trip for some time, but have now decided not to continue.

The family of a Cardiff solicitor are waiting to welcome him home after a similarly miraculous escape.

Heard explosion

Richard Thomas, 33, was just seconds from entering the club when the huge car bomb was detonated.

Mr Thomas - who works for solicitors Morgan Cole - had stopped for a quick meal with friends on the way to the club, and heard the bomb go off as they made their way there in a taxi.

The Indonesian island is popular with travellers

His father said his son and friends would have certainly been killed if they had not stopped for food.

Backpacker James Watts from Porthcawl, south Wales, has ended days of agony for his parents - by contacting them from the Indonesian island to say he is safe and well.

James, 24, had just started a year's travelling after taking time out from his job as a travel PR executive and left for Bali last month.

A 24-hour telephone number set up by the British Consulate in Bali for people anxious about relatives or friends in Kuta is 00 62 361270601.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Survivor Rachel Griffiths
"People were just helping each other get out"
Andrew Hartery
"I just knew we had to get out of there"

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15 Oct 02 | Wales
14 Oct 02 | Wales
13 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
21 Sep 02 | Country profiles
12 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
13 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
13 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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