Date: 5 May-3 July 2000
Location: Meet Halfa, Qaluobiya, Egypt
Type of event: lost radiography source
Casualties resulted from a radiography source unwitting brought into a household in Meet Halfa. Four sources used for checking pipes were lost in or near Abu Rawash in late April 2000; the workers who lost the sources searched unsuccessfully for them but did not report the loss to authorities. The family of Fadl Hassan Fadl found one source on 5 May and took it home, believing it to be precious metal. The rod contained 50 curies of iridium-192 (activity was reported as 31.5 curies on 5 May and 19.3 curies on 26 June). On 5 June Hassan Fadl Hassan, 9 years old, died of radiation sickness from a dose of 750 rad; the diagnosis was unclear at this point, but bone marrow failure and skin inflammations were evidence. On 12 June similar symptoms appeared in other family members who were hopitalized. The 61-year old father, Fadl Hassan Fadl, died on 16 June from a dose of 550 rad. Five others (Hassan's wife and four more of their children) suffered radiation sickness from doses between 300 and 400 rad, and 76 neighbors were treated for minor symptoms of blood changes. A total of 150 to 200 neighbors and friends each incurred estimated doses between 2.5 and 15 rem. Authorities began radiation surveys in the area on 25 June and recovered the source 26 June. Authorities found three more cylinders on 3 July (one in a warehouse), a day after arresting 4 for the loss of the cylinders.
Consequences: 2 fatalities, 5 injuries.
© 2004, 2005 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 17 August 2005.
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