Medical teams rushed to Bali
By Grant Holloway, CNN
CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia is rushing two defense medical teams to Bali to help the island's struggling hospitals cope with the aftermath of Saturday's nightclub explosions.
One Royal Australian Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft is expected to arrive in Denpasar, Bali around 8 p.m. on Sunday, the second around midnight.
The first plane is expected to airlift up to 30 patients back to the Australian city of Darwin by about midnight tonight.
Each medical team consists of seven specialists, including surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses.
Medical staff at Royal Darwin Hospital have been placed are on high alert ready to give assistance to the victims.
Hospital spokesman Len Notaras told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the state of preparation was similar to that undertaken when violence hit East Timor.
"We're doing along the same lines as we did when Timor erupted a couple of years ago, we're putting everybody on high alert," he said.
"We have done things like ensure that our emergency department, our intensive care are ready to accept and indeed treat any casualties that we might have to and cooperate with the other teams that will be going up there."
So far only two Australians have been confirmed killed in the blasts, with another 40 injured, 15 of those seriously, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General Peter Cosgrove, said in a media statement Sunday the mix of medical evacuees and the exact numbers carried on each flight would be determined by the aero-medical evacuation team leader.
This decision would be based on the nature of the injuries and of the ability of the medical team to provide proper care to critically ill evacuees.
The aircraft would depart as soon as casualties and the appropriate medical response was determined, Cosgrove said.
Other medical teams and medical volunteers are also flying to Bali overnight on a special Qantas flight.
Cosgrove said the defense force was highly trained in dealing with such situations and had provided similar aero-medical support to tidal wave victims in Papua New Guinea in 1999.
He said subsequent flights into Bali by the C130s would be organised if and when required.
Eyewitnesses at the main hospital in Denpasar describe a chaotic scene with insufficient medical staff and facilities to cope with a constant stream of badly injured people.
"The scene inside the hospital was chaotic," Australian tourist Martin Lyons told Channel 9 news.
"There was a lot of injured people. They just kept on coming. The smell of burnt skin, the people in pain ... it was pretty hard to handle," Lyons said.
"We have got to get these guys back to Australia. We need to get them back to our hospitals," he said.
Lyons said he had been told by a coach of a football team which had been holidaying on the island that eight players were still unaccounted for.
He was hoping the missing men were at another hospital.
Another eyewitness told Sky News Australia the hospital system in Bali seemed to be struggling to cope and was under-resourced.