At approximately 11.30pmon 12 October 2002, following a terrorist bombing in Bali, Constable Timothy Britten placed his life in danger by repeatedly entering the burning Sari Club to rescue a seriously injured woman and to search for survivors.
Constable Britten, a West Australian police officer on secondment to the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in East Timor, was in Bali on leave. As he walked to his hotel, he heard an explosion that he recognized as a bomb blast. He immediately ran approximately 800metres toward the Sari Club, through narrow streets blocked by hundreds of panicking people fleeing the site. The Sari Club was reduced to a burning shell and large numbers of burned and seriously injured people were lying on the roadway and footpath. On being told that a woman was trapped in the building, Constable Britten ran into the burning Club and made his way through the debris as gas cylinders exploded all around him. He managed to locate the severly injured woman, but was forced back by the intense heat and flames. He returned to the street and sought help from a man who was there searching for his friends. Constable Britten, wearing only a light singlet top, shorts and thongs, ran back into the burning building with the other person to try to rescue the woman but, having no protective clothing, was forced back by the intensity of the flames. Outside the Club, they were doused in bottled water and together ran back into the building to rescue the woman. On this attempt, they managed to reach the woman, who was still conscious but pinned down by rubble and a piece of iron. Throughout this time and later in searching the building for other survivors, Constable Britten was aware that he was in danger of being severly injured at least and possibly, of losing his life, as he believed that another explosion had been planned by the terrorists to disrupt rescue efforts and kill emergency workers. Despite this constant fear and severe burns to his arm, Constable Britten persisted in the rescue until the woman was prised free and could be pulled from the wreckage. The men carried her out of the Club and placed her on a truck to be taken to hospital. They then both went back into the burning building to look for more survivors, but could see only dead bodies. Although Constable Britten wanted to continue entering the building to retrieve the bodies of victims, he was prevented by the growing intensity of the fire and further gas explosions.
Over the next hour, Constable Britten and the other person carried the badly wounded from the street outside the club to waiting trucks. At one stage, they were stopped at gunpoint by an Indonesian police officer. It was only when Constable Britten produced his police identification that the two men were allowed to continue their rescue efforts. Constable Britten remained at the site helping Indonesian police and security guards, and only when he felt assured that emergency workers had the Sari Club site secured did he return to his hotel. On that night, Constable Britten selflessly placed himself in constant danger sustaining severe burns to his arm, requiring skin grafts; deep cuts and abrasions to his feet from explosion debris; potential injury from gas cylinder explosions; and exposure to deadly infection from blood-borne diseases.
By his actions, Constable Britten displayed the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.
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