Radiation alert on BA flights to Madrid and Barcelona
30 November 2006, LONDON — British Airways is trying to contact 33,000 passengers after radioactive traces were found on two of its planes.
30 November 2006
LONDON — British Airways is trying to contact 33,000 passengers after radioactive traces were found on two of its planes.
The planes made a number of flights including return journeys between London and Madrid and Barcelona earlier this month, the BBC reported on Thursday.
A third plane, currently in Moscow, is to be flown back to the UK for tests.
The low grade radiation was found by scientists investigating the death of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko. An inquest into the death opened on Thursday.
BA has named 221 affected flights on its website and passengers are urged to contact the British NHS Direct or their own doctor. The health risk is low.
A spokeswoman for BA said the airline had also been "proactively calling passengers".
An estimated 3,000 staff would also need to be checked, BA said.
The alert involves flights made by the three short-haul 767s in Europe between 25 October and 29 November, almost a quarter of which were between Moscow and London.
Litvinenko, an ex-KGB agent and a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, died last week of radiation poisoning.
Destinations affected are Moscow, Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Athens, Larnaca, Stockholm, Vienna, Frankfurt, Istanbul and Madrid.
All flight numbers published on the BA website www.ba.com.
Traces of radioactive polonium-210 were discovered in his body and more traces of the substance were found at venues he visited in the capital on 1 November.
Scotland Yard has not said why it became interested in the planes, which were used on flights to Moscow and other European destinations over a five-week period.
But detectives are known to be tracing the movements of those who associated with Litvinenko.
One of the two Russians who met Mr Litvinenko on the day he fell ill has told Russian newspaper Kommersant that he travelled on one of the planes involved on 3 November.
Former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi told the paper he had had nothing to do with the poisoning.
He met the ex-spy after his meeting at a West End sushi restaurant with an Italian security consultant, at which Litvinenko was already showing signs of radiation contamination.
British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh told the BBC that the aircraft affected were all of the same type, and were being carefully examined.
To contact British Airways helpline: +44 191 211 3690.
Subject: Spanish news