Asbestos fears over Sea Kings
ENGINEERS who worked on Sea King rescue helicopters at a North Wales airbase are being warned they may have been exposed to asbestos.
The Ministry of Defence is urgently removing parts suspected of containing the harmful material from its aircraft, which have been in service since 1969.
The aircraft served with C Flight, 22 Squadron at RAF Valley, Anglesey, from 1996. They carried out hundreds of rescue flights in Snowdonia and at sea during their 19 years service saving countless lives.
In 2015 the search and rescue service was taken over by HM Coastguard who have contracted with Bristow Helicopters, who operate now base Sikorsky S-92 aircraft at Caernarfon Airport.
Reports in one Sunday newspaper said the warning from the MoD comes after an official report into the death of an Australian serviceman was attributed to exposure to asbestos, petrol or other toxins while working on a naval base.
Petty Officer Greg Lukes, an avionics technician who maintained Sea Kings in New South Wales in Australia, died four years ago from a rare, aggressive form of cancer.
The newspaper report suggests thousands of RAF and Royal Navy engineers may be affected, but pilots – who have included members of the Royal family including Prince William who flew the aircraft at Valley and Prince Andrew, who flew it in the Falklands War – are not.