There was panic in the air as they screamed. Most wore only a t-shirt, shorts and thongs, some were still clutching a beer, but they were all yelling desperately as they tugged at the white hot corrugated iron. It was supposed to be paradise, but this deadly night in Bali 20 years ago, left 88 Australians dead. The attack claimed 202 lives in total with 209 wounded. It also scorched itself into the heart of Glen McEwen. The then 35-year-old Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer was in Kuta, Bali investigating a people smuggling operation at the time of the terror attacks on October 12, 2002. McEwen is among the current and former AFP members who are featured on new podcast, Operation Alliance: 2002 Bali Bombings, which relives one of the most significant moments in Australia's history. That Saturday night McEwen and his three colleagues had talked about going for a drink at the popular tourist pub, Paddy's Bar. In the end, they decided to go for dinner at a restaurant 400 metres up the road. They were sitting at their table just after 11pm when they heard the massive blasts. READ MORE "There was an almighty boom and then the lights went out," he said. They walked outside and saw an inferno in the distance, then ran towards it to see if they could help. "It was just carnage and chaos, there was injured running away from us ... there was a lot of blood," McEwen said of ground zero around Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club where the two bombs were detonated. Kuta was always full of tourists and his gut told him many Australians would be caught up in the explosion. "There was bodies, there was injured, there was motorbikes arriving and people, including ourselves, were putting the injured on [the motorbikes] and saying 'hospital, hospital'," McEwen said. "There was bodies in vehicles, charred bodies, skeletal remains, smoke coming off the top of heads." McEwen was the first to officially call the tragedy back to Australian authorities, but initially he didn't know if it was simply an horrific accident. "I did say very clearly that due to its locality, I would be expecting a large amount of Australian casualties. There was silence at the other end of the line," he said. READ MORE Like everyone else at the scene, McEwen and his AFP colleague Mick Kelsey, with whom he'd been having dinner just a few minutes ago, feared there may be more explosions. That night he contacted his Australian Defence Force colleagues to request assistance, and was involved in putting together a list of the missing and injured. The next morning crowds had gathered at the explosion sites to look for loved ones. "Some were carrying beer cans in singlets, shorts and thongs lifting hot corrugated iron, burning their fingers, yelling out to their friends in search of some answers," McEwen said. "There were vehicles up in roofs and places, there was unfortunately bodies, there was still some some injured dazed and walking around." In the immediate aftermath, investigators and community leaders clashed over what should be done with the explosion sites. "The community leaders of the Hindu religion, all they wanted to do was cleanse the site and release the bad spirits and move on," he said. McEwen and his colleagues wanted the sites to be preserved so an investigation could take place properly. The Balinese system was overrun, families and friends of the dead and injured were being allowed in makeshift morgues to search for their loved ones. "They had unimpeded access to at least over 100 body bags," he said. "There were charred bodies and they were relying upon a ring on a finger, or a necklace, or however else they were thinking it was their loved one." McEwen had a 35 year career with the AFP and was commander when he was medically retired with PTSD in May this year. Following his retirement he spent a month holidaying in Bali with his wife Christine, and they're keen to keep going back every year. Despite his love for Bali, the thought that plagues his mind 20 years on, is wondering if he did enough in the aftermath of the attacks. "You can only do what you can do. You can't save everybody, you can't attend to everybody," he said. "But, the decisions made on the night were the best I could have come up with, given what I was seeing, feeling, smelling, touching. "To be able to do what we did, yes I am proud."