Sri Lanka Team Bus Attack 10 Years On Trevor Bayliss And Paul Farbrace On Their Survival

98
1548

Sri Lanka Team Bus Attack 10 Years On Trevor Bayliss And Paul Farbrace On Their Survival

On 3 March 2009, the Sri Lanka cricket team were in Lahore, Pakistan. It was the third morning of another Test match. Shortly before 9am local time, just outside the Gaddafi Stadium, 12 gunmen ambushed them.

Six policemen and a driver escorting match officials were killed. The attackers were armed with assault rifles, grenades and rocket launchers.

Here former England coach Trevor Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace, both then working with Sri Lanka, were on the team bus. Here, 10 years on – and as Pakistan prepares to host its first Test since – they explain how they survived.

Short presentational grey line

Farbrace: We were quite a superstitious team. We always had the same seats in the bus. I was always three back, on the right-hand side as you got on.

That morning I had my back to the window with one of my legs up on the other seat. I was cleaning my sunglasses, chatting to Trevor over the aisle about what we were going to say to the bowlers that morning.

The next thing, the bus jolted and came to a stop pretty quickly.

I turned and looked out the window over my shoulder. I could see this guy moving towards us with a gun, firing this gun.

I then looked down the front of the bus and I could see the top of a white car which had been driven onto the roundabout to block us. The next thing the bus shook again quite violently.

The Sri Lankan guys on the bus had seen bomb attacks. They were aware of bomb attacks and were probably quicker to get down. I think I was thrown to the floor with the jolt as people were shouting to get down.

Once I hit the floor, there was quite a significant amount of blood around me. I didn’t know where it had come from until I realised I had a thick piece of metal sticking out of my forearm.

Bayliss: I’d woken up with a bit of a headache so I was lying back on my seat with my eyes shut. I would usually be sat two back from the driver, and Tillakaratne Dilshan was in the seat in front of me, just behind the driver.

All of a sudden there was this explosion, not that close but close enough that it got your attention. Within a few seconds another hand grenade or something went off next to the bus.

I was half asleep. By the time I moved, everyone was on the floor in the middle of the bus. I just jumped down between the seats.

There was a big roundabout next to the ground and Dilshan later said there’d been a white vehicle reversing through it that pulled up in front of the bus.

Some guys got out and were shooting at the police in the van in front of us. There were others waiting in the middle of roundabout too.

Farbrace: The grenade injured us, pieces of metal in our bodies, pieces of the bus that came in.

Ajantha Mendis, who was in the seat in front of me, he’d fallen to the floor as well and was bleeding quite significantly from the back of his head.

On my side of the bus there was Mendis in front of me, myself, then Tharanga Paranavitana who was sat behind me. He had shrapnel in his chest and had passed out.

Sri Lanka Team Bus Attack 10 Years On Trevor Bayliss And Paul Farbrace On Their Survival

His white training shirt was soaked in blood. He’d passed out on his seat and the physio and the trainer opposite pulled him down by his legs to get him down on the floor.

Then behind them was Kumar Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera who were sat together.

As Sanga fell to floor Samy fell on top of him and his backside was in the air. He was hit by a bullet, it went in at the top of his thigh.

Bayliss: I was crouched down between the seats with my head facing the outside of the bus, I could sort of see back underneath between my legs the guys lying down in the aisle.

Farby was right behind and he had a piece of shrapnel sticking out of his arm, I could see the blood trickling down.

The calmness on the bus was one of the things that stood out to me. The only thing being said was quietly: ‘I’m hit’, ‘So am I.’ Time seems to stand still in that sort of situation.

There was nothing you could do. You just had to get low, get your head down.

The bus driver had jumped on the floor as well and then someone was shouting out to get the bus going but there were still bullets flying through the glass.

Farbrace: I didn’t think about dying. I wouldn’t even say I was scared. Looking at the arm I was just thinking ‘please don’t hit me again. I don’t want to be hit again’.

The seat where Trevor had been sat, there were three bullet holes in the window. He’d got down and put his rucksack with his computer in it up against the window to give himself a bit of protection.

Sri Lanka Team Bus Attack 10 Years On Trevor Bayliss And Paul Farbrace On Their Survival

Bullets were hitting the bus but everybody was incredibly calm. It was an eerie calm. There were bullets pinging the bus, hitting the glass, but the only voice I could hear was Dilshan’s. It was a very distinctive voice. I can still hear it now, I probably will for the rest of my life.

He would always sit right behind the driver. I could hear him shouting to the bus driver to reverse. The driver had got himself under the steering wheel and was steering with his arms above his head.

He’d started to reverse back like this while Dilshan was the one popping his head up and giving him directions to get away from the attack.

The driver was given huge credit, and his skills in getting us out of the situation were incredible, but to this day I think Dilshan’s bravery saved our lives. Sticking his head up and talking the driver through it, telling him where to turn, that probably saved us.

It seemed like this all lasted ages but it probably was only seconds, maybe a minute and a half, I don’t know. That’s the one area that to this day I’ve never been clear on – how long the whole thing took.

Bayliss: Some said it went on for 10 minutes but in reality, it was probably a minute or two at the longest. Time stands still in that sort of situation.

We were 30 seconds or so from the stadium and so once we took off it wasn’t too long before we got to safety, but we could still hear the gunshots.

Luckily nobody from our tour party was killed but half a dozen policemen and another driver were. There is footage I think someone took with a phone of the umpires with their little white van being shot at right behind us.

Once we got into the ground we felt a lot safer, and it was more about trying to look after the guys who had wounds.

There was a feeling of relief to begin with, for a few of the guys that quickly started to turn into anger, especially when the Pakistani authorities came in and said everything was OK. Quite clearly it wasn’t OK. It was like an army hospital.

Farbrace: There was a lot of blood. Once we got into the changing room, with medical people coming in, officials coming in, that’s when the level of anger and distress among us really started to hit home.

Seeing people in our team laying on the physio beds bleeding and injured, in distress and in pain, that’s when we all started to realise how bad the situation was. Ajantha Mendis had somewhere in the region of 16-20 pieces of metal taken out of his head.

They tried to take us out to hospital by ambulance, but I flat out refused to go back out there, there was no way I was going anywhere by road. But Thilan [Samaraweera] and Para [Paranavitana] had to be taken because their injuries were serious.

The two guys were taken off and then, with the TVs on, watching the news in the changing rooms, they showed this picture of an ambulance with bullet holes in it and the doors blown open. We thought it was the one that had taken the players away but it was quickly proved it was one that had been in our convoy. There was a lot of emotion.

Chris Broad, the match referee, came into our room and his white match shirt was covered in blood. His face was white. He and the umpires, they’d been in a small minivan. We were in a good sized coach, high up and with some kind of protection. They had literally nothing.

Their van driver was shot and killed, the fourth umpire Ahsan Raza was shot in the back. They’d been through an unbelievable experience as well.

Steve Davis, another of the umpires, he had a bullet hole through the flare of his trouser leg. They’d managed to get away after a policeman got in and drove the van out for them.

Bayliss: I rang my wife and she was just picking the kids up from school, it was about 3pm in Australia.

Luckily I was able to speak to her because the news had been reported very quickly, and back in Australia they were saying the Sri Lankan coach had been shot – they didn’t use the word bus but coach. Thankfully I’d spoken to her by the time friends were ringing her asking if I was OK.

Sri Lanka Team Bus Attack 10 Years On Trevor Bayliss And Paul Farbrace On Their Survival

We were in the dressing room for about five hours. Then they got two big Chinook helicopters to land on the pitch and pick us up. That trip was a little daunting as well, we weren’t exactly sure what was happening.

We took off at about 2:15pm, and it was a 15-minute flight to an air force base. The Sri Lankans sent an airplane with some doctors and nurses and a few of the administrators and management too.

We then took off from there at about 10 at night and flew straight back to Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Farbrace: That was the most nervous time, when we were in the helicopter.

There’d been talk of a handheld rocket launcher being fired and going over the top of the bus before, and I thought: ‘Are they going to attack again?’

Even when the plane took off I was really nervous until we got to a height where I thought we’d be safe.

Most of us spent at least a week in hospital in Colombo. It became a bit of a hub. Ajantha Mendis used to come and sit on the spare bed in my room, some of the other younger lads too, and we’d spend a long time chatting.

There’s a very close bond behind those of us involved in the incident, and that is something you will never lose. That panic and fear we all had.

There are always going to be the tough memories. And the attack definitely had an effect on me and the way I was for a period. Probably for four months I slept with the light on. I didn’t like people walking behind me. After a while you go back to normal, if there is a normal.

Leeds United Moved Top Of The Championship

But I saw Ajantha recently and he said he remembered a time when a load of firecrackers went off outside the hospital window and I’d jumped under the bed because I was so nervous. It was the first time since the attack that we’d all laughed, he said. One small piece of humour in a really emotionally tough experience to go through.

https://www.bbc.com

It was horrendous and people died. It just shouldn’t have happened, that people died trying to help us get to a match of cricket.

I have no anger or bitterness, just a deep sadness for the people who died. They weren’t going to war, they were just guiding us through what has always been to me a very lovely city in Lahore. That sadness I think will stay with me forever.

line

Download and listen to the full interviews with Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace, available as a Test Match Special podcast.

Sri Lanka Team Bus Attack 10 Years On Trevor Bayliss And Paul Farbrace On Their Survival

98 COMMENTS

  1. I?d have to talk to you here. Which is not something I typically do! I appreciate checking out a blog post that will certainly make individuals assume. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  2. An attention-grabbing discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to write extra on this subject, it won’t be a taboo topic but usually people are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  3. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thanks , I’ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your website?

  4. It is the best time to make a few plans for the longer term and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I may I want to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to learn more issues about it!

  5. F*ckin’ tremendous issues here. I am very satisfied to see your post. Thanks a lot and i’m taking a look forward to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  6. Wonderful paintings! That is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared across the net. Shame on the seek engines for now not positioning this submit higher! Come on over and discuss with my website . Thank you =)

  7. I do agree with all of the ideas you have presented for your post. They’re very convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too brief for starters. May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  8. We are Daylight Studio, a boutique photography studio in East London available for hire. We are a creative natural light studio space with decorated French walls, lots of props and furniture and massive windows for great natural light. He have a unique selection of chairs, fabric backgrounds and a sofa for your next natural light photography project. The studio is great for fashion, portrait and commercial photography and if natural light photography studio is not your thing we have a lot of lighting equipment available for you as well and that includes studio strobe lights with various modifiers and LED constant lights for video production. We also have facilities for e-commerce photography. Please see the studio’s gallery here.

  9. naturally like your web site but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the reality on the other hand I will definitely come back again.

  10. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you’ve done a excellent job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Opera. Outstanding Blog!

  11. I’m really loving the theme/design of your weblog. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A few of my blog readers have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any advice to help fix this problem?

  12. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

  13. Nice weblog right here! Also your website so much up very fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I want my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  14. We are one of Utah’s highest-rated barbershop. We are a small team of barbers providing the best men’s haircuts in salt lake city, Utah. We have been in business for over 6 years and with over 300 5 star reviews on both Yelp and Google.

  15. Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was looking for! “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” by Groucho Marx.

  16. Magnificent web site. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And of course, thank you for your sweat!

  17. I’ve read some excellent stuff here. Definitely value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you place to make any such great informative website.

  18. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the problem is one thing that not sufficient individuals are speaking intelligently about. I’m very blissful that I stumbled throughout this in my search for one thing relating to this.

  19. Get help to stop drinking. Helping women quit drinking alcohol. Coach Mary Wagstaff. Feel better, mind, body and soul. Mindfulness based coaching and alcohol recovery. Yoga for recovery.

  20. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. Iím going to watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  21. Hello, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your super writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

  22. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  23. I¡¦m not certain the place you are getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time finding out more or figuring out more. Thanks for fantastic information I was in search of this information for my mission.

  24. I in addition to my buddies were found to be reviewing the great helpful tips found on your web site and so then developed a horrible feeling I had not thanked the site owner for those tips. Those men appeared to be for this reason warmed to read through them and have definitely been enjoying them. Thank you for indeed being considerably thoughtful and then for picking out certain incredibly good resources most people are really needing to know about. Our sincere regret for not expressing appreciation to sooner.

  25. Thanks for revealing your ideas. The one thing is that students have an option between federal student loan plus a private education loan where it’s easier to select student loan debt consolidation loan than with the federal education loan.

  26. Many thanks for sharing these types of wonderful articles. In addition, the perfect travel as well as medical insurance program can often ease those considerations that come with touring abroad. A new medical emergency can rapidly become very costly and that’s sure to quickly impose a financial impediment on the family finances. Having in place the suitable travel insurance package prior to leaving is worth the time and effort. Thank you

  27. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  28. Aw, this was a actually good publish. In principle I want to set in producing like this furthermore – taking time and actual work to make an excellent article… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and not at all seem to get some thing accomplished.

  29. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Cheers!

  30. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  31. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much. I was seeking this certain info for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  32. Good write-up, I¡¦m normal visitor of one¡¦s web site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  33. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to read?|

  34. I have been surfing online greater than three hours these days, but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It’s lovely value enough for me. Personally, if all webmasters and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the internet can be much more helpful than ever before.

  35. Arx Nimbus’ Thrivaca Risk Analytics Platform provides the first financially-relevant Digital Risk Profile for the enterprise, underwriters and brokers. Using a patented algorithm developed in collaboration with leading universities, the DoD and federal regulators, Thrivaca consolidates industry historical analysis, your latest analyses and assessments, proprietary vulnerability scans, audit data and actuarial mathematics to produce a complete and detailed valuation of enterprise-wide digital risk, and the top sources of current carrying cost.

  36. We are a top-rated Tampa Based Digital Marketing Agency. Our revenue generation and business strategies through various marketing channels and methods can scale up any companies brand management, sales or overall functionality

  37. Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Opera. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know. The design look great though! Hope you get the issue solved soon. Cheers

  38. Good message. I find out something extra tough on different blog sites everyday. It will certainly constantly be promoting to read web content from other authors as well as practice a little something from their shop. I?d prefer to make use of some with the material on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll give you a web link on your web blog site. Thanks for sharing.

  39. When I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new remarks are included- checkbox and also currently each time a remark is included I get 4 e-mails with the exact same remark. Exists any way you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here