KHON TV carried a story about the radiation leak at the site of a fatal Marine Corps helicopter crash in Kane’ohe Bay:
Activist concerned about possible radioactive contamination at Kaneohe Sandbar
Updated: 8:28 am
KANEOHE- Environmental activist Carroll Cox says a helicopter that crashed onto the Kaneohe Sandbar on the evening of March 29, killing one marine and injuring three others, released radioactive material into the surrounding area.
Cox says he was informed a week-and-a-half ago by military sources that the CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter contained a device known as an In-flight Blade Inspection System, or IBIS. Within the device are six half inch pellets that contain the radioactive isotope strontium-90, a known carcinogen with a half life of 29 years that’s easily absorbed by human bones.
“I’m told by sources that some did contaminate, that meant that these capsules were breeched,” Cox said in an interview with Khon2. “I would like to see an independent entity sample that area.”
Cox believes the popular three acre sandbar should be off-limits ahead of the Labor Day weekend until the state Health Department and the Department of Land and Natural Resources can guarantee the public is not at risk.
“Sacrifice one holiday rather than sacrificing the untold numbers out there that may become exposed,” he said.
DLNR spokeswoman Deborah Ward said testing of the sandbar where the helicopter went down would proceed Friday morning in an effort to reassure the public that all is safe.
“We’ll go out and do an assessment and make a determination later that day,” said Ward.
LEFT IN THE DARK
In a post accident report obtained by Cox, the Marine Corps notes the release of jet fuel, oil and hydraulic fluid from the downed helicopter, but there’s no mention of strontium-90.
David Henkin, chairman of the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board, said it’s disappointing the military chose to keep the release of radioactive material a secret, even if it posed no risk to the public.
“It’s disappointing that the marines didn’t report that to the community,” said Henkin, a Honolulu attorney. “We’re about to go into the Labor Day weekend and there’s going to be a lot of families out there; we want to make sure that they’re safe.”
According to Cox, there is no evidence rescue personnel who rushed to the scene of the crash were told about the possibility of encountering radioactive material.