I don’t know if you’ve been following the Russian spy saga that has been unfolding in the UK, but it has been fascinating. Now there’s an aviation angle that makes this even more James Bond-like.
The backstory here is that Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian KGB agent, was poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210 in London during the last couple weeks. He died last week but not before blaming the Russian government for his murder in relation to some investigations he had been conducting.
Now, it turns out that British Airways has identified 3 767 aircraft that might have been involved. They have found that 2 of the 767s have very low level traces of a radioactive substance onboard while the third is currently in Moscow and had yet to be tested. Those three aircraft have obviously been removed from service.
The airline stresses that the public health risk is extremely low, but they are contacting passengers who flew on those aircraft in the last few weeks. According to their statement, the planes have flown between London and Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Athens, Larnaca, Stockholm, Vienna, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Madrid, and . . . Moscow over the last month. Click on this link to see a full list of flights operated.
This is truly an incredible development. How did the radioactive substance get on all three of these aircraft? It seems highly likely that transit of the substance between Moscow and London occurred but how would it have spread beyond one aircraft? Were multiple people involved? Who was on the manifest of all those flights? I’m sure Scotland Yard is busily sifting through all this information.