November 30, 2006
Radiation is detected on BA flights to Moscow
Daniel McGrory and Stewart Tendler
# Airline alerted by Litvineko police
# Poison gang may have been on board
Alexander Litvinenko’s missing hours
The full list of affected BA flights
British Airways have discovered traces of radiation on two of its three aircraft that have flown to Moscow since the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
Two Boeing 767s tested at Heathrow showed “very low traces of a radioactive substance”. A third aircraft, which has been grounded in Moscow, is due to be tested.
The Health Protective Agency would not say if the substance found was polonium-210, the radioactive isotope that poisoned the former KGB spy.
The aircraft were immediately withdrawn from service, but the airline and toxicologists said that there was little risk to the public.
8.14, Thu Nov 30 2006
Thousands of air passengers have become embroiled in the investigation into the death of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko, whose inquest opens later.
BA said around 33,000 passengers may have been exposed to “low levels of radioactive traces” found on two of its aircraft at Heathrow. A third plane grounded in Moscow is also being examined.
BA chief executive Willie Walsh said: “The advice that we have is that the risk to public health is actually very, very low.”