Lived to tell
Philip Hendy and coauthors take us through the science behind the recent bombings in London and Egypt and analyse the emergency response provided
On 7 July 2005 four bombs ripped through London's crowded commuter transport system in a coordinated terrorist attack, resulting in the death of 52 people and injuring around 700.1 On 23 July 2005 in Sharm-ElSheikh, Egypt, three bombs exploded in central locations around the city, leaving as many as 88 people dead and 700 injured, the majority of whom were Egyptian.2 The coauthors of this article were on medical elective in Sharm-El-Sheikh and experienced first hand the reality of the management of blast victims and of dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist bomb.
Both bombs were homemade but of contrasting types. Police currently believe that each of the four London transport bombs contained less than 5 kg of the explosive TATP (triacetone triperoxide).3 This can be manufactured from scratch from over the counter products including bleach and acetone. By contrast, the Sharm-EI-Sheikh bombs are believed to have contained over