Ex-US servicemen in radiation exposure claim

Veterans seek class action lawsuit over Palomares disaster

: US servicemen checking radiation levels in Palomares in 1966

By Richard Torné

A group of former US military personnel who claim falling ill from radiation exposure following the 1966 Palomares clean-up operation have asked an appeals court to allow a class action lawsuit against the US Government.

The action was brought by Yale Law School students last week (December 11) after air force veteran Victor Skaar and other servicemen were denied disability benefits from the US Department of Veterans Affairs .

It is the second legal action taken by the students in relation to the Palomares accident. In October, they reportedly sued the US department of defence on behalf of veterans’ groups to force it to release urine testing results, which they claim would show that servicemen were exposed to dangerously high levels of radiation during the mission.

Four thermonuclear bombs fell over Palomares on January 17, 1966, following a mid-air collision between a US air force B-52 bomber and a refuelling tanker. Although none of the devices exploded, two of the three bombs that fell on land released radioactivity over a wide area after bursting on impact.

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