| An Australian girl sleeps as her family waits for a flight to take them out of Bali. (AFP)
Bali, Oct. 13 (Reuters): Dazed tourists, some still in shock, today cast around for a flight out of Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali after bombs ripped through one of its most popular nightspots.
But away from the site of the suspected terror attack, there was an air of normality on the island as bare-chested surfers carrying boards headed off to its famous Kuta Beach.
Airport officials said that while there was no sign of panic or a mass exodus, some airlines were putting on extra capacity for anyone wishing to leave.
Amos Libby, an American blown off his feet when the two bombs exploded outside the Sari nightclub in Kuta Beach overnight, was waiting at the airport this morning for his parents, who were arriving to join him for a holiday. “As soon as they get here, we are going to get the hell out of here, out of Indonesia,” Libby, 25,said.
Bali, a traditionally tranquil mainly Hindu island within the world’s most populous Muslim nation, is popular with everyone from hippies and high-flyers to families.
Libby, looking shocked, said he had been in the Sari the night before the explosion and was walking along the road nearby when the bombs exploded. “It was like the sky fell down, there was a blinding white light, it lifted me off my feet but amazingly I didn’t get a scratch,” he said.
Later in the morning, witnesses reported other tourists, some of them with light injuries from the blast, arriving at the airport and trying to find early flights out. Gusti Made Dording, head of Bali’s Denpasar airport, said airlines were laying on extra capacity. “So far, Qantas has added an extra flight for today to get people away, because Qantas wasn’t scheduled to fly out on a Sunday,” he said. “All planes to leave are fully booked.”
Heavily armed police kept crowds away from the general area of the blasts. The mood close by was sombre, with many who were there gazing at the wreckage in disbelief.
But away from the site, tourists, while aware of the attack and talking about it, appeared to be focusing on enjoying their holidays.
“Lots of guests have gathered in the lobby to talk about last night but no one has checked out,” Deddy, a public relations official in the Hard Rock Hotel, Kuta, said. “They’re doing their usual activities according to the tour organisers.”
Angri, a woman receptionist at the Sahid Hotel, the largest on the island in nearby Legian, said by telephone that all was calm there. “Just two people have checked out not on schedule, one an Indonesian and one a foreigner. The activity is normal otherwise,” she said.
Norihide Maruyama, head of the Shinjuku office of Map International, a Japanese travel agency, said his company had made no decision on whether to cancel any tours to Bali. “We’re gathering information about it so we can’t say anything for certain, although we can’t deny the possibility that there may be an impact (on tours to Bali),” he said.
New Zealander Sharon Williams, who recently returned from holidaying in Bali, said she had felt safe during a week on the “fantastic” island.
“I would have easily gone again because I enjoyed it so much,” she said. “Now I’ll think twice.”