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LHR Inebriated DL Pilot Sentenced to Six Months

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LHR Inebriated DL Pilot Sentenced to Six Months

Old 7th Feb 2011, 18:21
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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I don’t know the answer to this; perhaps one of my fellow PPRuNers does:

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where crew fatigue was a contributing factor?
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 18:36
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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maat:

I don’t know the answer to this; perhaps one of my fellow PPRuNers does:

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?

How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where crew fatigue was a contributing factor?
Who knows? But, I suspect you believe the latter is much more common. I would say: of course it is, for obvious reasons.

I flew fatiqued many times. I never flew under the influence of booze, drugs, or weed. I suspect my experience is shared by almost every professional pilot.
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Old 8th Feb 2011, 07:20
  #123 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by maat
How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?
One known. 14 September 2008 to Aeroflot-Nord near Perm. LOC on approach.

Originally Posted by maat
How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where crew fatigue was a contributing factor?
Unknown. Such things are also not usually carefully investigated, except in countries in which accidents happen relatively rarely.

I got the data from Flight International's annual safety surveys.

PBL
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Old 8th Feb 2011, 07:59
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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How many airline incidents and accidents have occurred in the last five years where alcohol was a contributing factor?
I suspect very few. Whereas there may well be an attempt by other crew members to 'help' a colleague to avoid the sack - and my lips are sealed - this wouldn't be carried out to the extreme of allowing oneself to be killed.

One supposes.

By comparison I know of incidents where a supposedly sober pilot ( no suspicion of it being otherwise, but then how would we know ? ) committed suicide, and the murder of many people, by engaging in action that destroyed his aircraft.
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 01:54
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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MagnusP

It's absolutely correct that this man should not have been flying while inebriated. However, what surprises me is the apparent incapacitation of an individual whose reported blood alcohol level wasn't significantly higher than that considered legal while driving. As a (presumably non-recovering) alcoholic, his system should have had a fair level of alcohol tolerance and, while unfit to fly, I'd have thought most symptoms would be well-masked. Inability to name destination? There's something else going on here.

Sorry if someone has replied before to your question, MagnusP, I havenīt got time now to finish reading the thread.

I must say I havenīt got any medical knowledge or clinical background.

If you have been closed to someone suffering from alcoholism, you may find out that an alcoholic is not necessarily the same as a heavy drinker. A heavy drinker may not be an alcoholic, and they usually develop a tolerance, I guess, by which they need higher quantities of alcohol to have an effect on them. But I have witnessed thousands of times how just a few sips of beer can drastically get an alcoholic drunk. You may not notice unless you are familiar with the person. I have witnessed many times how, sometimes even the act of opening a bottle changes the state of mind of an alcoholic.

And bear in mind that the withdrawal syndrome of alcoholism is horrible. Some say itīs even worse than that of opiates, like heroin. DT is not uncommon. An untreated alcoholic ALWAYS needs a drink, no matter the situation, itīs just a matter of how long ago their last drink was.

It may not be the general case, I am only talking about a personal experience, but if the person is an untreated alcoholic, I donīt think they should be abe to fly, drive a train or perform any critical job. Just half glass of wine can change an alcoholic from Dr jeckill into Mr Hyde.

Then again, there may be degrees, I repeat I am no expert and I am only talking about the one case I know, and other 2-3 cases associated with this person.

Regards,
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 04:24
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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His sentence is not for his disease
Most people here have assumed that the pilot in question is in fact an alcoholic. Is there actually any evidence that that is the case?
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 07:56
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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etrang: the "alcoholic" tag is presumably from the link posted by the OP, although I acknowledge that the usual "Daily Mail" caveats should apply.

Vld1977: I fully accept the general point you make about drinkers v alcoholics, but this fellow appears to have a familiarity with drinking ("just a few beers the previous evening"), and his blood alcohol level as reported would appear to indicate greater consumption than just a few sips taking him to a different state of mind, particularly as a number of hours had passed between his admitted consumption and his test. A few units would have metabolised over that time.
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Old 9th Feb 2011, 14:48
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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General Response - from a recovering alcoholic

I haven't figured out how to box the quotes (help!) so I've cut/pasted them in bold.

First, I AM an alcoholic (recovering with nearly 21 yrs of sobriety). I've worked in the treatment field and participated in dozens of workshops with medical professionals in the field of alcoholism. I've also worked with all the major airlines in the US. This does NOT make me an authority but I do have a little insight into this area.

I'll comment on a couple of things but will not rehash my posts of 2006/2007 on this very same topic for another pilot.

There are two very simple and separate issues:

1. The act that's committed and the consequences that follow (and I don't see much variance in opinions here about that part) and...

2. The issue of alcoholism if the person is so afflicted.

There seems to be too much tolerance in this thread - almost as if there is a collusion that we all know it goes on, and this poor guy got caught. His sentence is not for his disease - which is quite irrelevant - but for his unprofessional conduct.

I don 't know about the "tolerance" comment but the writer is correct about the conduct observation. Choices/actions/behavior are punishable without regard to the disease question - and that's as it should be. Alcoholism does NOT provide an excuse for or immunity from anything in terms of consequences.

I was not fired and sent to prison for being an alcoholic; I was fired and sent to prison for what I did - and it was fair and appropriate.

Next, what about the question of alcoholism...? As an alcoholic who was terminated for flying drunk (and appropriately so), I have no RIGHT to reinstatement; that is an option my employer may wish to consider if I address my disease - or perhaps he won't. My job is to get sober. What happens after that is NOT in my hands.

In my case, I was put back to work by the Pres/CEO of Northwest Airlines...who made a personal decision to bring me back. Given the statistical percentage of alcoholics who relapse (70%), that was an act of courage that defies explanation. And I told him at one of our meetings that if I'd been "officer in charge of risk assessment" I would not have done it. He would call me in about once a year and we'd talk. I never knew when the meeting would be or what he'd want to talk about but I thoroughly enjoyed our get togethers. I had nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

I'm sure some will want to jump on this next statement but I'm speaking from facts and not from an emotional or visceral position: every study I'm familiar with, regardless of what facet of business or industry, shows that returning alcoholic employees (recovering) become the best employees on the property. They're more loyal, grateful, productive, absent less, and are strong assets to the work place. Alcoholism is a living hell - and when we recover from it, we have a view of life that's unparalleled..and it spills over into everything - family, friends, workplace, and the world at large.

More than 4,000 recovering pilots have been put back in the cockpits since the '70s (that was the last data I had and I'm sure there are more by now). So recovery works.

Any pilot who does NOT wish to recover or will NOT comply with the requirements to do so SHOULD NOT be allowed to return - period; they should find another line of work. The airline programs, peer monitors, EAPs, monitoring doctors, random tests, etc., do a good job of policing this policy. There's a three-year monitoring program (minimum) for returning alcoholic pilots and there are a LOT of requirements. The success rate in the pilot group averages 90-95%, more than twice the average norm. But there ARE those who don't make it.

No one I've ever met has chosen to be an alcoholic anymore than someone who smokes hopes (or believes) they will die of lung cancer. There was a semi-question about "degrees of alcoholism" and it's very much like being a diabetic - you either are or you aren't. There are, however, stages of alcoholism - early, middle, and late.

If someone comes up with the old, tired "self-inflicted" nonsense, then I'll address it.

Alcoholics first use, then abuse, then slide into the disease; it's a process and not an overnight event. It's often difficult to discern abusers from potential alcoholics.

Interesting info in the US is that 7 out of every 10 people drink. Of the 7, only TWO are true, actual, "social drinkers." The other 5 abuse to some degree, maybe a little and maybe a lot. If you've ever driven home or done other things when you shouldn't have when you were drinking, then you have abused alcohol. Of the 5 abusers ONE will become alcoholic. So it's a 10% general factor overall. And higher in some ethnic populations.

As I've said before, my alcoholism does not grant me immunity from anything I DO - nor should it. But I can tell you, I live a totally different life NOW than I did when I was drinking and that's been true for nearly 21 years. I can look anyone in the eye today and I hide from nothing; that's a wonderful freedom that many non-drinkers don't even have!

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 03:08
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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To Yorkshire Tyke

Yorkshire Tyke asks me in a private message "Who MADE you take your first drink" as he presents the "self-inflicted" argument once again. The question was in a private message but I choose to put my answer out in the open.

The whole idea of "self-inflicted" deserves to be examined. It's possible that Yorkshire Tyke is asking an innocent and naive question; I have no way of knowing. But the general inference of that term has to do with blame and condemnation. It also usually hides a thinly disguised feeling of self-righteousness and superiority. And most of us love to feel superior.

It's easy for me to go to a casino, place a $5 bet, then walk away. For the life of me I cannot understand why a compuslive gambler just can't do the same. Doesn't he know...can't he see...??? Why is it so easy for me and so impossible for him?!

As I went through treatment and was engaged in the Twelve Step process, I learned that those Steps forced me into wider thinking; they were not narrowly confined to the issue of drinking - they applied to all of life. My views and my horizons broadened.

I'll pose a very real and likely scenario and you decide about this idea of "self-infliction":

As a child in grade school I began learning about good health. I learned about nutrition, a good diet that included fruits and vegetables, that sugar wasn't good for me, that saturated fats would clog my arteries, I should get 8 hours of sleep, and forego alcohol and tobacco. And those were only part of the requirements for a good, healthy life.

But I ignored those things and as decades passed I opted for pizza, fast foods, got along with 5 hours of sleep, smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol, and violated all the other tenets of a good lifestyle. I did those things because I LIKED them; I enjoyed them - in spite of what I knew about them. I KNEW as I did those things that they bode ill for me - but I did them ANYWAY. Because I never thought the bad things would happen to ME; those things always happened to others.

So, when I end up in the hospital sick, or as a fatality due to one of the three great killers in the US, cancer, heart attack, or stroke, how can one say the particular event was NOT "self-inflicted"? It's self-inflicted through deliberate choices I made over time. We just don't view it that way.

As an 18 or 20 year old I picked up my first glass of wine or liquor. I did NOT know where it would lead me. I had no way of knowing! After all, 90% of the public can drink normally and safely. Even if I possessed any specific knowledge at that young age, WHY would I ever think I'd be in the 10% who couldn't drink safely; that I would be an alcoholic?!

But we love to tell the alcoholic that their disease is self-inflicted. Why? What's the payoff for us when we do that? It's inside of us and I covered it earlier.

I've never seen anyone hold the hand of a loved one who was dying of lung cancer from smoking, look in their eyes, and say, "You know...this is all self-inflicted; you have no one to blame but yourself." Or say that to a loved one who was overweight, diabetic with all the associated problems, and on dialysis. These situations are far more deliberately self-inflicted than a person who thought they could drink safely, intended to drink safely, tried to drink safely, and years later discovered they could not drink safely.

We feel pity and sorrow for the cancer victim - and hate and disgust for the alcoholic. It's just the way it is.

So - if you feel that alcoholics deliberately self-inflict a disease upon themselves that eventually kills them and emotionally murders all those who have a loving attachment to them, then you're welcome to that.

And for any who are so misguided as to think they've had a near perfect and flawless journey through life, free of fault, error, bad choices, and misgivings - I can only suggest you may have set your standards far too low.

My alcoholism has given me empathy, understanding, and tolerance. I did not say I excused the alcoholic; I've just learned to distinguish between the acts and the actor with the disease.

When I deal with another alcoholic, I'm a steel fist in a velvet glove and I don't accept any nonsense. Either they get serious about getting well...or they find someone who'll co-sign their BS.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 10:05
  #130 (permalink)  

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A couple of thoughts....

1) I have great respect and admiration for your story Captain Prouse. Long may it continue to inspire others.

2) I'm not sure whether it is good form (unless without consent?) to make private conversations public but you have exercised your perrogative....

3) I have no idea what Yorkshire's reason for participating in the debate is and what his experience is with the "alcoholic condition" but I suspect his exposure to either it or its effects may be intimate. I mentioned my own experience previously.

4) People might think that "alcoholism is self-inflicted" for all kinds of reasons. Attempting to understand what those reasons are doesn't necessarily move the debate any further forward.

5) I'm not sure you have advanced any significant arguments to refute Yorkshire's ultimate claim? You've characterised the position and told them they're
....welcome to that.
6) If a rational basejumper, cogizant of the risks, keeps jumping off cliffs and eventually paralyses himself, most of his mates will be devastated but it doesn't change the fundamental reality that the injury is self-inflicted.

7) Christian Bale lost 62lbs preparing for the movie "The Machinist" by eating one apple a day and consuming one coffee a day (275 calories) for 4 months - have a look at some pictures of him if you haven't seen the film. It is incredible what transformation making simple (not necessarily easy!) choices every day can effect.

8) The debate is important because none of us benefit if we don't take the appropriate amount of responsibility for the consequences of our own actions.

9) Quotes can be included in your posts using "quote" tags.

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Old 10th Feb 2011, 14:03
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Maat,
you have inquired about the incidents or accidents due to alcohol and fatigue.
Off hand, it may be difficult to dig out such statistics, but I may provide you with an abstract from a study on alcohol violations by airline pilots. As per this study, "During the study period, newspapers reported on a total of 13 incidents of alcohol violations involving 17 pilots. All but two of the incidents occurred during January 2002 through June 2006. The majority (85%) of the incidents were first identified by airport personnel, such as security screeners, based on suspicion of alcohol use by the pilot. Subsequent alcohol testing revealed a mean BAC of 90 mg/dL (ranging from 10 mg · dL−1 to 182 mg · dL−1). Of the 17 pilots, 6 were known to be prosecuted criminally, including 5 who were sentenced to jail terms."

As for fatigue, there are so many variables including (stressful) situation, motivation and time of the day which may help a compromised pilots' state of alertness, where he/she copes up successful landings and take-offs except in few unfortunate instances.

Interestingly in case of alcohol, the individual is accountable whereas in case of fatigue, even if an individual may commit errors, invariably it is the ops which is responsible. This could be due to poorly planned rostering and/or inadequate periods of rest and recuperation. However, fatigue compromises aviation safety routinely and more often by forceful actions by airline or compromised conditions due to inadequate rest periods.

Yet since the thread is discussing alcoholism, without condoning the act of the pilot, should one not appreciate that there are systems in place to prevent a 'drunk' pilot from flying and the study quoted above affirms that. It may be equally important that the airlines too, instead of continuing to look at their profitability, start investing in their most vital resource - the human resource. And here I do not mean just 'remunerations' by using the word 'investing' - it means much more than just being a paid employee!
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Old 10th Feb 2011, 16:51
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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SR71

2) I'm not sure whether it is good form (unless without consent?) to make private conversations public but you have exercised your perrogative....
4) People might think that "alcoholism is self-inflicted" for all kinds of reasons. Attempting to understand what those reasons are doesn't necessarily move the debate any further forward.
I do not wish to harm or embarrass anyone. I try (not always successfully) to not do or say something I'm not willing to put in the open. If something is said in an expressed confidence I honor that; if something is said or done in the shadows, I do not. I do not view a private msg on PPRuNe as an acknowledged or specific request for confidence; there are many reasons someone may not respond in an open forum. I am not ascribing any sort of tainted motive to the comments I received and the ultimate question about who MADE me take my first drink; I merely responded.

I disagree that people think alcoholism is self-inflicted for all kinds of reasons; that has not been my personal experience over the past 21 years. The reasons are usually very limited and pointed.

Long ago I recognized that the shame, stigma, and attitude about alcoholism and alcoholics will not appreciably change in my lifetime. So I'm on no crusade to do that. Those things will only be changed one person at a time and usually through personal experiences with a recovering person(s). Until the early-mid 70s, no alcoholic pilot in the US was ever allowed to fly again. We've come a long way since then.

Many of the myths and misinformation in the public sector are dissolved through personal, actual, up close experiences with people who are recovering.

There are all sorts of analogies that can be dreamt up as examples of self infliction....so to each his/her own.

Using your analogy of the base jumper who performs many successful jumps and is then paralyzed, hence his injury is self inflicted; we could also say that any pilot who's flown many years and thousands of hours and is killed in a plane crash dies as the result of a self-inflicted cause. I've had many friends killed in crashes over the years but I have yet to hear anyone say their death was self-inflicted.

Nothing I say will have any affect on those whose minds are already made up, and that's okay. I don't intend to keep posting about this subject. All I've done is try to put forth information that has at least some basis in truth and fact, along with personal experience.

Alcoholism is MY disease; it's not necessary that others understand it. It's only necessary that I do - because I will either live WITH it or I will die FROM it.

I wish everyone well.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse
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Old 11th Feb 2011, 01:01
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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.............but I suspect his exposure to either it or its effects may be intimate........
Correct. I'm not prepared to elaborate other than to say it isn't me that is the alcoholic, but it sure affects my life, and yes, I may be biased and bigotted as a result. Capt. Prouse has accurately stated that it isn't necessary to be way over the limit, it's like a switch in the brain that is activated almost at the sight of the bottle, and others have to then deal with the consequences.

......It's easy for me to go to a casino, place a $5 bet, then walk away. For the life of me I cannot understand why a compuslive gambler just can't do the same.......
because he is ALREADY a compulsive gambler - that answers your own question - but why is he/she ? Were they a compulsive gambler before they ever went near their first casino ? Probably voluntarily, tho' of course there might have been a lot of peer pressure, or simply idle curiosity.

Thank you, Capt. Prouse, for your frank and honest discourse, I'm outta here now.
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Old 13th Feb 2011, 23:33
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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Yorkshire Tyke

because he is ALREADY a compulsive gambler - that answers your own question - but why is he/she ? Were they a compulsive gambler before they ever went near their first casino ? Probably voluntarily,
It's abundantly clear that you have a rigid, fixed, entrenched notion, a defend-to-the-death idea that alcoholics and addicts "volunteer" for a life of alcoholism and addiction. Somehow, some way, it's imperative that you put that on them and keep it there. There can only be one reason for that - you get some sort of positive benefit or reinforcement in a personal way.
and yes, I may be biased and bigotted as a result.
That doesn't make you a bad person and I'm not inferring that it does; it's not a crime and you're entitled to that. It is, however, one of the mainstays in maintaining the stigma and shaming elements of this disease.

I do NOT hold people responsible for becoming something they never intended; I DO hold them responsible for their recovery once they know they have the disease.

There is an abundance of medical and scientific data available all over the internet about this disease if you should ever care enough to actually study it. There are also books, videos, studies, and mountains of credible information....if you ever decide to challenge your own gut feelings and personal ideas.

And, NO, I did not answer my own question. You either failed to thoroughly read all my comments....or you chose to miss the point.

On page 568 of the primary text called Alcoholics Anonymous, also referred to as "The Big Book," is a very apropos passage quoting Herbert Spencer:

"There is a principle which is a bar agains all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance -- that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

A merry-go-round is a pleasant and enjoyable ride. Until the same scenery has been passed so many times as to become tiring. I'm jumping off the merry-go-round at this point.

A closed mind is always the prerogative of the person who owns it.

Blue skies,
Lyle Prouse
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 01:29
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks Lyle. You have helped a lot of pilots telling your story.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 06:48
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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...I'm jumping off the merry-go-round at this point.
Looks like Yorkshire Tyke jumped off before you !! He probably decided that continued banging his head against a brick wall was self-inflicted !

I do NOT hold people responsible for becoming something they never intended;
I go along with that, in so far as alchoholism,and maybe gambling, can take hold from apparently innocuous beginnings.

I DO hold them responsible for their recovery once they know they have the disease.
So .. if they know, and continue without attempting to find a solution, isn't that self-infliction ?

I'm not going to get on this merry-go-round. S'long.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 19:43
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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Off hand, it may be difficult to dig out such statistics, but I may provide you with an abstract from a study on alcohol violations by airline pilots. As per this study, "During the study period, newspapers reported on a total of 13 incidents of alcohol violations involving 17 pilots. All but two of the incidents occurred during January 2002 through June 2006. The majority (85%) of the incidents were first identified by airport personnel, such as security screeners, based on suspicion of alcohol use by the pilot. Subsequent alcohol testing revealed a mean BAC of 90 mg/dL (ranging from 10 mg · dL−1 to 182 mg · dL−1). Of the 17 pilots, 6 were known to be prosecuted criminally, including 5 who were sentenced to jail terms."
So the majority of reports come from security screeners and other airport personnel.
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Old 14th Feb 2011, 21:45
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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.
.
So a total of only 15 incidents in 4― years.


.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 11:59
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Heliport, I think you mean only fifteen IDENTIFIED incidents reported by the Press. Who knows how many others were either identified and dealt with without the Press being aware of them or, worse, not identified at all.
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Old 15th Feb 2011, 19:33
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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DX Wombat

I meant what I said and said what I meant.
I was responding to a specific post which referred to a specific study.

If you want to engage in speculation that's your choice.
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