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RAF airman who flew with Prince William gets payout after helicopter ’caused cancer’

An RAF airman has proven his rare form of bone cancer was caused by the type of helicopter which was also flown by Prince William, it has been reported.

Zach Stubbings, a flight sergeant, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma after years of inhaling fumes from the retired helicopter.

And he has now reportedly won an undisclosed settlement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after demonstrating the link with his illness and the chopper, according to The Sun.

Documents uncovered during Zach’s legal fight shows the Government knew about the dangers of the Sea King’s exhaust as far back as 1999, the paper said.

But it is claimed nothing was done about the helicopter, which was also flown by the Duke of Cambridge.

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Duke of Cambridge
Prince William previously flew an RAF Sea King

Dad-of-two Zach, 42, from Cardiff, said: “The Government chose to ignore it. It’s a scandal.”

Prince Andrew also flew the aircraft in the Falklands in 1982.

It is thought Zach’s win, which came after a six-year legal battle, could now prompt further claims.

He was diagnosed with the cancer in 2012 and later medically discharged from the force.

Speaking to WalesOnline at the time, he said: “They thought I had an allergy to the new suits for work that we had been issued with but when the tests didn’t come up with anything they did some blood screening.

Anna Louise Bates and Zachary Stubbings
Zach, pictured with wife Anna-Louise, was later medically discharged

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“I was up a tree on the high ropes course on a Friday afternoon when I got a phone call from the senior medical officer to say to go to the medical centre first thing on Monday.

“It sounded serious but I had no idea why they wanted to see me.

“I had no symptoms so it was a real shock when they diagnosed cancer. It is a type of cancer that you are never in remission with but it can be active or non-active.

“I have regular blood tests to keep on top of it but it did change my world completely.

“I was an instructor at the time of diagnosis and had plans to further my career but then I had to get moved to lighter duties and was discharged in 2015.

“It was a huge knock.”

Anna Louise Bates and Zachary Stubbings
Zach said the support he has had from charities has been ‘amazing’

Zach sought assistance from Help for Heroes after his diagnosis, who he and wife Anna-Louise, 44, say have been “amazing”.

“Help for Heroes has been amazing because they get the message across that ‘you can still do this’ and I have met lots of people in a similar positions to me,” he continued.

“They helped me regain my purpose and helped me to become the person I am today.”

The couple met through the charity Believe in 2015.

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.”



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