SU-30SM, SU-35S, and SU-34 flying in formation - Sputnik International, 1920
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Ex-RAF Copter Pilots Sue UK Defense Ministry For Exposure to Cancer-Causing Agents

© AFP 2023 / PAUL J. RICHARDSA British Royal Air Force Chinook flies over the HMS Ark Royal. File photo
A British Royal Air Force Chinook flies over the HMS Ark Royal. File photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.05.2024
At least three of those who filed lawsuits have reportedly already died, with others have been told that their cancer is terminal.
Almost 40 former UK Royal Air Force (RAF) pilots and aircrew who have developed cancer as a result of toxic exhaust fumes from military helicopters are taking legal actions against the Ministry of Defenсe (MoD), The Times has reported.

The government has been aware of the fumes-related risks since 1999, but did nothing about it, according to testimony from sick personnel and their family members.

The number of those who have sued the MoD is predicted to double in the coming weeks. At least three of those affected are already understood to have died, with some former service personnel being handed out-of-court settlements.
The pilots who traveled in Sea King, Westland Wessex, Puma and CH-47 Chinook helicopters have been diagnosed with lung cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, throat cancer, multiple myeloma, and testicular cancer. Notably, while Sea King and Westland Wessex choppers were retired, Puma and Chinook remain in service in the RAF.
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Those affected reportedly include personnel of all ranks, "from those in the highest positions in the armed forces to leading aircrew and sergeants."

Jonathan Dingle, a leading barrister at Normanton Chambers who is working on the cases, told The Times that engine jet efflux gases, which contain benzene carcinogens, that "were apparently being sucked through the cabin and out again through the cockpits — mixing as the air which everyone onboard the aircraft was breathing."

The pilots, however, "were not provided with masks or filters or purified air or any form of filtration system. They were not warned about the whole system," Dingle added.
A MoD spokeswoman has meanwhile reacted by stating that the ministry "hugely" values its service personnel and veterans and owes "a debt of gratitude to all those who serve, often with great personal sacrifice." According to the spokeswoman, those who "believe they have suffered ill health due to service from April 6, 2005 have the existing and longstanding right to apply for no-fault compensation under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme."
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