Freedomroo – Prince William’s fellow RAF Sea King airman wins payout after cancer is linked to helicopter fumes

Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings, 42, (right) from Cardiff, spent his 15-years RAF career inhaling the fumes from the now-retired aircraft's powerful twin engines

Prince William’s fellow RAF Sea King airman wins MoD payout after his rare cancer is linked to helicopter’s fumes – sparking health fears over future king

  • Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings, 42, spent 15-year RAF career piloting Sea King
  • He inhaled the fumes from the now-retired aircraft’s powerful twin engines
  • MoD were  forced to admit that his the fumes caused his bone marrow cancer
  • Prince William piloted Sea King for 3 years while in RAF search and rescue Force

Prince William’s fellow RAF Sea King airman has received a payout from the Ministry of Defence after his rare cancer was linked to toxic fumes from the helicopter.

Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings, 42, from Cardiff, spent his 15-years RAF career inhaling the fumes from the now-retired aircraft’s powerful twin engines.

The MoD have been forced to admit that the fumes caused Flight Sergeant Stubbings’ bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma, following a six-year legal battle.

Prince William also piloted the aircraft for three years while serving in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force at RAF Valley, Anglesey.

He carried out 156 search and rescue operations – saving 149 people – during his time there.

The fume dangers highlighted by Flight Sergeant Stubbings’ legal bid will no doubt cause concern within the Royal Family.

RAF Sea King has also been linked to asbestos poisoning, after thousands of military engineers were feared to have inhaled the potentially fatal chemicals. 

Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings, 42, (right) from Cardiff, spent his 15-years RAF career inhaling the fumes from the now-retired aircraft’s powerful twin engines

Prince William also piloted the aircraft (pictured at the controls of Sea King) for three years while serving in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force at RAF Valley, Anglesey

Sea King helicopters linked to issues with potentially fatal asbestos

Thousands of military engineers were feared to have inhaled potentially fatal asbestos chemicals while working on Britain’s Sea King helicopters.

In 2018, defence chiefs confirmed they had issued an alert in a desperate effort to warn Royal Navy and RAF personnel who have maintained the Sea King since it entered service in 1969.

In an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Defence has also contacted foreign governments that bought the helicopter and civilian contractors flying ex-British military Sea Kings.

Serving personnel or veterans with health problems caused by exposure to asbestos on Sea Kings were able to sue the MoD for hundreds of thousands of pounds. 

Flight Sergeant Stubbings uncovered documents from 1999 revealing that the MoD were warned of potential issues caused by Sea King fumes by experts.

But nothing was done to rectify the issue, The Sun reports. 

Flight Sergeant Stubbings told the paper: ‘The Government chose to ignore it. It’s a scandal.’ 

An MoD spokesperson said: ‘The health and safety of our personnel is of the utmost importance and we are committed to providing a safe working environment. 

‘Three studies undertaken by the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine into Sea King found there were no definitive conclusions in terms of risk to health. 

‘RAF Sea King reached the end of service in 2016.’

In 2018, thousands of military engineers were feared to have inhaled potentially fatal asbestos chemicals while working on Britain’s Sea King helicopters.

Defence chiefs confirmed they had issued an alert in a desperate effort to warn Royal Navy and RAF personnel who have maintained the Sea King since it entered service in 1969.

In an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Defence has also contacted foreign governments that bought the helicopter and civilian contractors flying ex-British military Sea Kings.

Serving personnel or veterans with health problems caused by exposure to asbestos on Sea Kings were able to sue the MoD for hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The MoD have been forced to admit that the fumes caused Flight Sergeant Stubbings' (pictured) bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma, following a six-year legal battle

The MoD have been forced to admit that the fumes caused Flight Sergeant Stubbings’ (pictured) bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma, following a six-year legal battle

Sea King crews are ‘frequently subjected’ to engine exhaust fumes, study finds

Sea King Rescue helicopter crews are frequently subjected to engine exhaust fumes, a 2018 study found.

Scientists investigated how much carbon monoxide (CO) pilots are exposed to – and whether they exhibit symptoms.

The research – carried out by University of California Professor Michael Busch – found that exposure to engine fumes is common, especially when crews are working near the open cargo doors. But symptoms are uncommon and mild.

The study looked at 37 crew members’ CO levels over a two-week period. It found 64 per cent were exposed to engine exhaust fumes during training – but symptoms were seen in just 8.6 per cent.

These included exhaustion, headaches and nausea.

Some 29 per cent had CO levels outside the normal range after their flight – with the highest recording standing at 7 per cent. 

The normal range is less than 4 per cent.

A 2018 study found that Sea King Rescue helicopter crews are frequently subjected to engine exhaust fumes.

Scientists investigated how much carbon monoxide (CO) pilots are exposed to – and whether they exhibit symptoms.

The research – carried out by University of California Professor Michael Busch – found that exposure to engine fumes is common, especially when crews are working near the open cargo doors.

But symptoms are uncommon and mild.

The study looked at 37 crew members’ CO levels over a two-week period. It found 64 per cent were exposed to engine exhaust fumes during training – but symptoms were seen in just 8.6 per cent.

These included exhaustion, headaches and nausea.

Some 29 per cent had CO levels outside the normal range after their flight – with the highest recording standing at 7 per cent. 

The normal range is less than 4 per cent. 

The study concluded:  ‘Exposure to engine fumes is common, even more so during open cargo door operations. 

‘However, clinical symptoms are infrequent and mild. 

‘Toxic SpCO levels were not reached in this study, but approximately one third of postflight SpCO levels were outside the normal range.’

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