THREE businessmen have revealed how they cheated death when the Bali bombs exploded just yards from them.

Business partners Neil Cullen, Philip Jarman and Hugh Sugden were being driven towards Kuta Square in the heart of the island's tourist area when the blast struck only 200 yards away.

The friends, all from the Silsden and Steeton areas, were left shocked and horrified by the aftermath of the suicide bombs.

Mr Cullen, 47, president of Silsden Park Rangers rugby league club, told how they witnessed bodies, piled three deep, being driven away from the carnage.

Mr Cullen, Mr Jarman, 43, of Silsden, and 38 year-old Mr Sugden, of Steeton, who is on the committee of Silsden Cricket Club, were on a five-day business trip and were on their way back to their hotel when the bombs went off.

Mr Cullen said: "We were heading for the square, which was on our route back to the hotel, and were stuck in traffic on the street that runs parallel with it when it went off 200 yards away.

"There was a massive bang that had the effect of an earthquake. The ground trembled and everything seemed to shake around us.

"There was pandemonium after it happened. People were panicking and running away. It was terrifying."

Mr Cullen and his friends were escorted by police towards the beach and their driver then took them on a diverted route back to their hotel. But as they left the area he said they were passed by at least four ambulances crammed with casualties.

He said: "A pick-up truck hurtled past us with an ambulance sign on the front. There were between 12 and 14 people, piled three or four deep, on it. Many of them were white and people were trying to tend to them as it went.

"It was quite clear that many of them were dead or near death. It was an horrendous sight to see."

He added: "We would have been going through the square a few minutes later. If we hadn't been stuck in traffic we might have been there when the bombs went off. We feel lucky."

Mr Cullen said mobile phone systems crashed after the blast and the friends were unable to contact their families and partners for between 12 and 14 hours.

"We got through on Sunday morning to our loved ones, who had seen it on the television and were frantic with worry."

The three men were due to leave the terror stricken island on Tuesday.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Cullen added: "Things have calmed down quite a lot today. It's a bit subdued but people are trying to be positive and support the Bali people.

"There are lots of flowers and tributes and candles outside where the bomb went off.

"One man I spoke to was carrying a home-made poster the day after the bombing along the front, pleading for people to donate blood.

"Everyone is pulling together and has been very helpful. The Balinese people are devastated by it.

"All the good work that's gone on here to rebuild the tourist industry has gone down the pan. They are very religious and have been praying hard and they are determined to carry on."

The friends had travelled to Bali on numerous occasions because of their land and property business interests, but had not been since the terrorist attack three years ago.

Mr Cullen added: "We gave it time to settle down and we thought it was safe to go back. Tourism had revived and that gave us the confidence to go.

"It's going to be difficult for us to come back now. I don't think we will be going ahead with our business plans here. We are looking at pulling out."

At least 22 people died and more than 100 were injured when three suicide bombers targeted restaurants in Jimbayan Beach and Kuta, to the south of the island on Saturday.

The 2002 bomb attack on Bali left 202 people dead, including 26 Britons.