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From holiday to horror

Jakarta, Aug. 5 (Reuters): Australian tourist Simon Leuning came to Indonesia for a relaxing holiday.

Instead he was blown across his room as a bomb tore through the luxury JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, killing 10 people and wounding dozens. The blast shook buildings kilometres away, shattering a quiet Tuesday lunchtime and also drowning out the midday call to prayer for the faithful in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

“I had just arrived in Jakarta,” Leuning, from Perth, told Reuters Television. “The window blew in, blew me across the room.”

Leuning said he quickly pulled on his trousers and shoes before grabbing his passport and fleeing.

The lobby of the 30-storey hotel was in ruins, but outside the scene was worse, he said.

“The taxi drivers and taxis were on fire... a couple of drivers didn’t make it.” Leuning and a Belgian tourist helped two drivers escape the flames and found another bleeding in a bush.

“The mosque was blaring at the time. But I could still hear the bang and my building shuddered,” said a photo shop owner on street some 7 km from the blast site.

At a European restaurant in a building next to the Marriott, diners left half-eaten meals among shattered glass and cutlery as they scrambled to leave the building.

“The bomb went bang and my staff panicked,” said Leys Suryono, a pastry chef at the Chianthi Bistro. “Nobody was screaming, people were just confused. I knew it was a bomb straight away.”

He said the bistro was packed with lunchtime diners.

“In front of my eyes people were running everywhere. I could see people with melting skin,” said Lia, a waitress who was chatting to a friend outside the restaurant.

As rescue workers and fire crews scrambled around the nearby Marriott — dozens of hotel restaurant staff milled around the back entrance. Some had blood spattered on their white jackets and tall chef’s hats. “It was like an earthquake,” said hotel public relations manager Mellani Solagratia, who was dining at a Chinese restaurant on the second floor of the hotel.

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