But at 11.07pm local time on Oct. 12, 2002, a terrorist who had snuck into Paddy’s Bar one minute earlier detonated the suicide vest he was wearing, which was packed with 5kg of TNT. Twenty seconds later, a white Mitsubishi van carrying 700kg of explosives obliterated the nearby Sari Club.
The force of the blast ignited a huge blaze and hundreds of people were trapped in the raging inferno when the club’s thatched roof collapsed.
Two hundred and two people died in the tragedy – including 88 Australians – and more than 300 people were injured.
Andrew Csabi, from the Gold Coast, was inside the Sari Club when the bombs went off. Despite being gravely injured, he managed to crawl through the wreckage, broken glass and twisted metal to find help.
“I was unconscious for two or three minutes,” Csabi says in an exclusive interview with WHO.
“When I woke up, it was like being in an oven. The heat was just incredible; my skin was burning. It was dirty, filthy, smelly.”
He tried to stand up, but his left leg and the toes on his right foot had been blown off. “I’m just looking down at my body and it’s. a mangled mess. I was in shock. There was blood, bodies, limbs, people everywhere. Hysteria. It was surreal, something no human can be prepared for.
Andrew Csabi describes his experience inside the club as “surreal”.
“I had to get away from the heat so I started crawling. I crawled through people, over people. “
Despite drifting in and out of consciousness, Csabi somehow managed to make it out of the club. Once outside, he fell into the crater which had been left by the car bomb. An off-duty Australian soldier, Anthony McKay, rushed to Csabi’s aid.
For Andrew’s harrowing story of survival – be sure to pick up the latest issue of WHO.