05.12.2011 – Toxic exposure at IAF base; 33 lightly injured

Soldiers lightly injured after being exposed to highly toxic chemical in Ramat David Air Force Base

Ahiya Raved

Published: 05.12.11, 13:22 / Israel News

Ynetnews
More than three years ago 15 soldiers from the Hatzor Air Force Base were taken to Kaplan Medical Center inRehovot for blood tests after they were exposed 

Thirty-four officers and soldiers were lightly injured after being exposed to a highly toxic chemical at the Ramat David Air Force Base early Thursday. The substance – Hydrazine – is used to supply power to fighter jets.

All soldiers were initially examined by medical officials at the base and were later taken to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.  The soldiers were first exposed to the toxic around 10:00 am while inside a hangar at the base. Not all suffered the same level of exposure.

Medical teams in the base began to treat the injured.

According to IDF procedure, in cases of exposure to such substances medics must perform examinations to rule out any injuries. The soldiers were therefore referred to the Rambam Medical Center. An initial examination suggests that the soldiers were not seriously injured.


Soldiers enter Rambam Medical Center (Photo: Avishag Shaar Yeshuv)

“Hydrazine is a highly toxic chemical which can cause death in certain cases. Luckily the soldiers were exposed to small amounts and only a few required treatment. The tests we are conducting are meant to check whether there are traces of the substance in their bodies,” Dr. Shlomi Israelit, emergency medicine director at Rambam said.

Hydrazine supplies power to F-16 fighter jets. Short-term exposure to the chemical may cause irritation in the eyes, nose, and throat, dizziness, headaches, nausea and more. Long-term exposure can also damage the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.

This is not the first time Air Force servicemen are evacuated to hospitals in such circumstances.

More than three years ago 15 soldiers from the Hatzor Air Force Base were taken to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot for blood tests after they were exposed to a dangerous substance at their base. Their condition was classified as “lightly injured” and they were released to their homes.

 

 

Medical teams in the base began to treat the injured.