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Did cabin fumes kill two British Airways pilots?
Did cabin fumes kill two British Airways pilots?

Two British Airways pilots have died after allegedly inhaling deadly fumes while in the cockpit.

Karen Lysakowska, 43 and Richard Westgate, also 43, were both laid to rest within four days of each other ealier this month.

Mr Westgate had reportedly told his lawyers before his death to sue British Airways for providing an unsafe working environment after he inhaled fumes which can contaminate cabin air.

Following Mr Westgate's death, his lawyers say they plan to press ahead with the lawsuit, saying they will give him the trial he never had.

It's not unheard of for pilots to be forced to wear oxygen masks due to the contaminated air, which many believe causes serious physical and neurological issues.

The chronic condition is known as aerotoxic syndrome, and has been dubbed the 'new asbestos' within the industry.

If proven, the syndrome could send shockwaves through the airline industry, with one doctor suggesting thousands of pilots are unfit to fly because of years exposed to the potentially dangerous conditions.

Ms Lysakowska hadn't flown since 2005 when she was grounded with ill health.

In 2006, she wrote "My objective is to get well and carry on flying and not enter a protracted legal battle because of the impact exposure to contaminated air has had on my life but if I have to I will."

Ms Lysakowska later developed cancer and did not press ahead with the lawsuit.

Mr Westgate voluntarily grounded himself following a car crash in 2011, but went on to develop persistent headaches, chronic fatigue, loss of confidence and mood swings.

A study by the UK government determined cabin air was safe to breath, and British Airways has refused to install filtration systems in its planes.

A spokesman for the airline said, "Our thoughts are with the families of the two pilots at this very sad time and we offer our sincere condolences.

"We are not aware of any legal claims relating to the two individuals."

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment or speculate upon the individuals' cause of death."