Volume 42, Issue 6 (November 1997)
Injuries Due to Letter Bombs
In Austria in late 1993 ten letter bombs were sent to outstanding persons who have been engaged in the care of foreigners. Four of these bombs detonated, when they were opened by the addressee. The remaining six bombs were discovered in time and could be deactivated by specialists. The construction of these bombs and the lesions sustained by the four victims will be discussed. The injuries mainly concerned the left hand, i.e., the hand used by right-handed persons to hold a letter when opening it. The way holding the letter was of crucial influence on the degree of injury, as with the same explosive charge (which can be assumed deducing from the investigation of the deactivated bombs) injuries varied considerably. They ranged from minor tissue-lesions to mutilated fingers and the risk of exsanguination.