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Real story: 'The poor farmer and the deadly treasure'

  1. Jun 10, 2009 #1
    The poor farmer and the deadly treasure

    This real story happened in one of the countries in year 2000 ( Egypt ). A farmer and his family which consists of 7 persons went to the hospital, the all complain from inflammation in the hands, and pimples in the fingers. In the beginning, the doctors thought that this family afflicted with the sickness ' anthrax', but after the accurate examination / checkup, the doctors discovered that the reason in these symptoms is exposure to the radioactive source.

    The doctors asked the farmer, did he and his family deal with radioactive materials, of course the poor farmer didn't understand the question, because he don't know what is the radioactive materials. After that, the radioactive experts went to the house of the farmer, the astounding surprise was that the radiation detectors showed that the radiation level in the farmer house is very high.

    After an accurate searching, the experts found radioactive source placed in handkerchief , and it is hidden below the bed. The radioactive source was Iridium-192 which decays by emitting beta particles and gamma radiation. The radioactive source was look like spiral pin, 18 cm length and 5 mm diameter.

    The radioactive source was part of the gamma camera which used in examination the welding in the gas pipes. One of the technicians in the gas company used gamma camera for examination the welding in the gas pipe which near from the field of that poor farmer, the technician lost the camera in the field of that poor farmer, but the gas company feared to report the police because the company didn't follow rules of using the radioactive sources.

    The poor farmer found the gamma camera and he thought that the radioactive source is a valuable metal, the farmer thought that he found treasure, he put the radioactive source in handkerchief , and he hide the handkerchief below the bed. In the end, this poor farmer and 2 of his children died while the rest of the family afflicted with dangerous sickness
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2009 #2


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    Welcome to PF!

    Hi mohd_adam! Welcome to PF! :smile:
    I hope the gas company was prosecuted for corporate manslaughter. :frown:
  4. Jun 10, 2009 #3
    Thanks tiny-tim
  5. Jun 10, 2009 #4


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    Can you provide a reference? I'd be interested in verifying details of this story.
  6. Jun 10, 2009 #5
    Only i found a website wrote (shortly ) about this accident ,
    this is the website of the most famous newspaper in Egypt , of course you can use Google to translate into English.....

    about the details of the radioactive source , i didn't find any website wrote the details.
  7. Jun 10, 2009 #6
    I found some information about this accident on the website of The International Atomic Energy Agency....

    http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull434/article8.pdf [Broken]

    search about the word "Egyptian' , the information in page 6
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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