Out of Our Comfort Zone: Terrorist Attacks of 7/7

There was no warning of the terrorist attacks that occurred on London’s Underground and buses on the morning of 7 July 2005.

When the bombs were detonated the small amount of solids they contained were converted into enormous volumes of gas and there would have been an almost instantaneous rise in the atmospheric pressure at the site of the bomb. A pressure wave would have travelled out and it would have rebounded off walls, floors, ceilings etc. People who were near to the bomb received devastating injuries. The pressure wave would have been partly reflected and partly absorbed by the bodies of people further away. Those people received less serious injuries.

Damaged ear drums and tinnitus would have been experienced by many people and they might have experienced lung problems.  Burns too can be caused by the rise in temperature which results from the chemical reaction of the exploding bomb. Foreign body injuries can be caused by the bomb casing which is propelled out at a very high speed.

In January 2013, it was reported that engineers at Newcastle University have developed blast-resilient carriages. These aim to reduce blast impact and debris that maims and kills.

The unexpected nature of this attack and the severe injuries that resulted from it, tested London’s emergency services. Please listen to our oral history interview with Consultant Anaesthetist, Dr Andrew Hartle, who helped to deal with the aftermath of the bomb that exploded in a Circle Line underground train at Edgware Road.

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