Prince William’s fellow RAF Sea King airman has won a payout from the Ministry of Defence after his rare cancer was linked to noxious 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 has been forced to admit that the fumes caused Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings bone marrow cancer, multiple myeloma, following a six-year legal battle.
Prince William also piloted the aircraft, which was first flown in 1969, for three years while serving in the Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force at RAF Valley, Anglesey. The two men are not believed to have flown together.
The Duke of Cambridge carried out 156 search and rescue operations, saving 149 people, during his time there before leaving in 2013.
The last new Sea King was produced in 1995. The fleet was completely retired from the RAF by 2018.
The fume hazards highlighted by Flight Sergeant Zach Stubbings legal bid will no doubt cause concern inside the Royal Family.
RAF Sea King has also been linked to asbestos poisoning after thousands of military engineers were feared to have inhaled the possibly lethal chemicals.
Flight Sergeant Stubbings uncovered documents from 1999 revealing that the MoD were informed of possible problems caused by Sea King fumes by experts, but a news outlet said that nothing was done to correct the problem.
Flight Sergeant Stubbings told the newspaper that the Government decided to disregard it and that it was a disgrace.
An MoD spokesperson said that the health and safety of their personnel were of the highest importance and they were committed to rendering a safe working environment.
The spokesperson said that three studies were undertaken by the RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine into Sea King, and found there were no definitive conclusions in terms of health risk and that RAF Sea King reached the end of service in 2016.
In 2018, thousands of military engineers were feared to have inhaled lethal asbestos chemicals while working on Britain’s Sea King helicopters.
Defence chiefs confirmed they’d issued a warning in a drastic attempt to warn Royal Navy and RAF personnel who maintained the Sea King since it entered service in 1969.
In an unprecedented move, the Ministry of Defence also contacted foreign governments that purchased the helicopter and civilian contractors operating 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 only difference here is that Prince William has the best of the best health checks and health care on demand. He will never have to struggle to get a doctor’s appointment and he will never have to wait weeks for an appointment.
And he will never be fobbed off by doctor’s and his health concerns will immediately be taken seriously and doctors will stumble over themselves in the rush to treat him, but it’s a pity that Flight Sergeant Stubbings had to struggle to get justice and admission.
The MoD frequently seem to try to avoid liability for such matters, and it shouldn’t need a connection to a royal to make them do the right thing, and we hear much empty drivel from politicians about our courageous servicemen and women, but when it comes to the health and welfare of veterans, the actions by officialdom usually falls short of the fine words, and they were informed of potential side effects, and yet it still took years to win this man’s case, so it just goes to show how little their regard is for them.