DENPASAR, Indonesia – Police say criminal negligence is to blame for the electrocution of an 18-year-old Australian in Bali on Saturday, but have not named any suspects.
Jake Mitchell Flannery died at about 3 a.m. on Saturday from an electrical shock he received while walking with a group of friends down Jalan Legian in the tourist hub of Kuta.
First Insp. Muhammad Wahyudin Latif, the Kuta Police’s chief of detectives, said that based on the testimony of the victim’s friends, Flannery had been attempting to get past a section of the sidewalk that was under repair and piled high with stacks of paving blocks.
While trying to squeeze between the blocks and a neon sign for the Jokers Bar and Grill, he reached out to steady himself against the signage. At that point, Wahyudin said, he screamed out in pain as he was electrocuted.
Some passing Australian lifeguards rushed to Flannery but were unable to revive him, Australia’s Sunday Telegraph reported. Wahyudin said Flannery died instantly.
The police did a re-enactment of the accident with the victim’s friends and other witnesses on Sunday, but have not yet decided whether to charge anyone over the death.
“There are very strong indications of criminal negligence in this case, but we haven’t set our sights on any one party yet,” Wahyudin said.
He said that while the bar was responsible for its neon signage, the district of Badung, which includes Kuta, was responsible for ensuring that the sidewalks were clear of obstacles.
Ni Putu Dessy Darmayanti, head of the sidewalk repair unit at the Badung Public Works Office, did not answer repeated attempts to contact her for comment.
Agung Mastika, a spokesman for the Bali unit of state-owned power company Perusahaan Listrik Negara, said the operator did not bear any responsibility for the accident. “The full responsibility for the safe operation of the electrical installation in question is the owner,” he said.
Flannery’s mother, Cheryl, told the Telegraph that her son’s friends initially thought he was “playing a joke.”
The teenager graduated from high school last week, and his mother said she had been “so stressed out” about the trip to Bali, his first time overseas. She said he sent her a message on Thursday saying he was having a great time.
“You can’t imagine it happening in Australia,” she said of the accident.