Jakarta bombings bring blood and chaos

17th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Coordinated bomb blasts ripped through Jakarta’s Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott, turning the hotel’s breakfast restaurant into a scene of shattered glass and debris.

Jakarta – Hotel waiter Putra Darmawan was serving breakfast to wealthy guests when an explosion tore through the restaurant at Jakarta's Ritz Carlton hotel, sending shards of glass and debris flying.

"I was working in the restaurant. I don't know what happened, there was an explosion and it went dark," the bandaged and visibly shaken 18-year-old told AFP in the Metropolitan Medical Centre (MMC) hospital near the bomb site.

Darmawan was one of over 40 people authorities say were injured by bombs at the Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott hotels that killed at least nine people in an upscale district of the Indonesian capital Friday.

Normally an oasis of calm amid Jakarta's urban clamour, the broad streets outside the hotels in the Mega Kuningan district were littered with glass and smears of blood in the aftermath of the explosions.

Police and ambulances cluttered the sealed-off streets as bloodied victims were carried from within the shattered glass facades of the hotels.

Television images showed a blood-smeared foreigner carried on a stretcher in his underwear and dumped on the roadside in front of a group of cameramen.

Footage also showed white smoke billowing between the district's modern office towers and upscale restaurants.

"I was walking outside and I saw three injured people taken to the ambulance," shop assistant Syarif, 32, said.

"They were all foreigners, their faces and bodies all covered in blood. The skin near the eye of one of them was peeling off it was bloodied," he said.

Sukardi, a 53-year-old driver, said he was high up in an apartment building sandwiched between the two hotels when heard a loud explosion and saw a 10-storey high column of smoke rising from the Marriott.

"As we were running, we heard a second "Boom", coming from Ritz Carlton and glass crashing," Sukardi said.

"It was like a scene in the movies," 48-year-old motorcycle taxi driver Usman said.

"There were glass shards everywhere ... everyone was shocked and confused. I didn't care what happened, I was only thinking 'Danger, get out, get out!' I jumped on my bike and rode off," he said.

The bombings were the second time the area has been targeted for bloody attacks. A bomb by the Jemaah Islamiyah militant network killed 12 people at the Marriott in 2003.

Bomb victims with severe burns on their bodies could be seen at the MMC hospital near the bomb site, including one patient wheeled into an ambulance with bluish-gray burns across his face.

Media and foreign embassy staff loitered in the lobby and halls of the hospital to seek more information of who were among the dead and wounded, while victims on hospital beds with burns could be seen getting ready for operations.

AFP / Expatica

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