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17 April 2017

Family of a BA Pilot Who Believed He Suffered from Cockpit Air Poisoning Say the Industry 'Has Its Head in the Sand'

Family of a BA pilot who believed he suffered from cockpit air poisoning say the industry 'has its head in the sand' over the risks as a coroner rules he died from an accidental overdose
by Anthony Joseph for Mailonline, 13 April 2017

  • Richard Westgate said ill health was caused by toxic fumes filtering into cockpit 
  • The 43-year-old had a number of health issues but grew 'angry frustrated and disillusioned' when British medical professionals were unable to cure him
  • Suffered severe headaches, sight problems and insomnia before he died in 2012 
  • But the coroner ruled that the British Airways pilot's death was accidental 

The family of a British Airways pilot, who believed he suffered from toxic fumes in the cockpit, said the industry 'has its head in the sand' after a coroner ruled he died from an accidental overdose.

Richard Westgate, 43, had a number of health issues but grew 'angry, frustrated and disillusioned' when British medical professionals were unable to cure him.

The pilot, who 'lived for flying', then grounded himself from piloting planes when bosses refused to permanently sign him off.

He moved to the Netherlands when Dutch medical experts and scientists believed his claims and set about trying to cure him.

But on the opening day of his inquest at Salisbury Coroner's Court, Wilts, coroner Dr Simon Fox QC said the issue - known as aerotoxic syndrome - was not something the parties will address.

And the airline industry argued there is no threat of fumes affecting passengers or crew.

But speaking today outside court after a week-long inquest into her son's death, Judy Westgate said she was 'dismayed' at Dr Fox's decision.

She said: 'Richard loved life and had so much to live for.

'He found his calling as a pilot, both in paragliding and flying passenger jets - something he considered a privilege.

'A few years ago he started to get sick but his symptoms baffled doctors, either they didn't know what was wrong or they chose not to help. The result was they all turned him away.

'His sickness turned to excruciating pain - and still he felt the doctors betrayed him.

'When Richard died four years ago, (the original) Coroner Sheriff Payne believed there could be a problem with poisons in cabin air of the aircraft Richard flew and started the inquest accordingly.

'To our dismay however, the coroner was suddenly switched last year and the new coroner instructed that aerotoxic syndrome would not be discussed as 'a proper issue' in relation to Richard's cause of death.'

Continue reading:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4409812/BA-pilot-s-death-ruled-accidental.html

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