December 9, 2022

A woman who lost her husband in the 2002 Bali bombings has revealed it took her 18 months to be glad she survived the attack – saying it ‘decimated’ her ‘perfect little world’.

Polly Brooks from Guildford appeared on This Morning today discussing being caught up in the bombing.

The attack on a tourist area on the Indonesian island on October 12, 2002, killed 202 innocent people, among them Polly’s first husband Dan Miller, 31, whom she had married just five weeks earlier, and her best friend Annika, 30.

Polly Brooks (pictured) appeared on This Morning today to talk about surviving the 2002 Bali bombings that killed her husband and best friend

Loss: Polly’s first husband Dan Miller (pictured) died in the 2002 terror attack, just five weeks after the couple married

Polly was seriously injured, suffering 43 per cent burns over her body, although at the time she had no idea how badly she had been injured.

After the bombs went off, Polly was able to get out of the building before being trapped in a dead end for a few hours. She was able to borrow a phone from someone and call her mother.

The horror of the Bali bombing

Around. At 11pm on 12 October 2002, three bombs were detonated in Bali, two in busy nightspots – the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar – and one in front of the US Consulate.

The explosions killed 202 people, 88 of whom were Australian, and injured hundreds more.

Carried out by the terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah, the attacks represent the largest single loss of Australian life due to an act of terrorism.

See also  South Korea extradites woman suspected of connection with children remains

More than 30 people were eventually arrested for their involvement in the attacks.


In the wake of the attacks, the Australian Defense Force mobilized immediately and just 17 hours after the explosion, the first RAAF aircraft arrived to evacuate wounded Australians. In the largest aeromedical evacuation since the Vietnam War, at least 66 seriously injured people were flown to Darwin for treatment.

The military then assisted with secondary transfers of people from Darwin to medical centers around the country.

Source: National Museum of Australia

Speaking to Phil and Holly, she said: ‘At the time I had no idea how badly injured I was and yes I was burnt but I didn’t want to worry [my parents].

So I was just worried about Dan, Annika and the others, and I was like just calling their parents [and see] if they have called home.

‘Because I had come out. I mean, of course I could see what was happening, but there was hope for me that they had escaped, and you certainly for the first few days afterwards… that they might have survived.’

But as the days passed without hearing from her husband and friends, Polly realized that the chances of their survival were slim.

She continued: ‘I knew after day four or five that if you haven’t heard from them by then that it probably wasn’t going to be good news.

‘And I think it was about 12 days when every single one of my friends and Dan was confirmed that they hadn’t made it, so I think then… the realization that I was the only survivors, really kicked it.’

See also  Latvia calls watchdog’s migrant mistreatment claims “absurd”

When Polly realized she was the only survivor, she said she felt unlucky, explaining: ‘I felt they were lucky because they just left.

‘They didn’t have to deal with the pain, the grief… I had to deal with funerals.

‘I had to deal with moving my life from Hong Kong to England. I had to get better, I had to manage.

‘I had to rebuild my life from being completely amazing to being crushed into this disaster zone.

‘And it probably took me a year to 18 months before I was actually happy that I had survived.’

In the 20 years since the bombings, Polly has remarried and has two children with her husband Andy Brooks.

She also set up a charity, Dan’s funds for burns, which offers practical support to burn victims, and has raised more than £2.5 million, earning her an MBE for her efforts.

Speaking about the charity, Polly said: ‘When the bombings happened, obviously my perfect little world was destroyed and my innocence was taken.

Devastating: The 2002 atrocity at Paddy’s Bar and Sari Club killed 202 innocent people. In the picture: Buildings and cars on fire after the attack

Aftermath: Flowers and wreaths laid on wrecked car in area hit by deadly bomb blast

‘When someone does something really bad to you, your beliefs about everything change, so you believe that bad things can happen, that there are bad people.’

She added: ‘When I reached out to try and do something positive because everything was so black and so negative, the love I got and the support – people went and raised a lot of money for me and friends of Dan and all the others. others who died – little by little it helped pull me back together.’

See also  John le Carré’s mistress reveals their secret love life was just as intriguing as his books

Polly added that it had been difficult to continue with the charity when her two children were young and that she had often had to work at night.

“But when I help other burn survivors who are in that moment where their lives have been turned upside down all of a sudden, and I get the gratitude, or I see what it does and helps them, it keeps me going,” she said.

‘The reality is that I survived, therefore I live for them.

‘I must. I have no choice. I have to raise money. I have to do something good’.