A Cenats Congress Committee has begun hearings in the United States into the dangers that airline passengers may be exposed to from hazardous cargo, including radio-active material, carried in the holds of passenger airliners.
GV Plane taking off and into air
GV Planes on ground
GV & SV INT. Senate Congress Committee hearing in progress
SV Senator Vance Hartke
SVs committee hearing in progress (2 shots)
SV Cargo being loaded onto aircraft by conveyor belt into hold (3 shots)
GV Aircraft coming in to land
Initials OS/1631 OS/1641
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A Cenats Congress Committee has begun hearings in the United States into the dangers that airline passengers may be exposed to from hazardous cargo, including radio-active material, carried in the holds of passenger airliners. The hearings began in Washington on June 13th.
Senator Vance Hartke, one of the senators on the Committee, released a report from the Federation Aviation Agency (F.A.A.) on its own handling of dangerous materials. The F.A.A. inspectors found there were "discrepancies" in handling and packaging, but estimates vary of the seriousness of the risks such "discrepancies" could meen or the passengers.
The airline industry clams only three percent of their flights carry dangerous cargo. The pilots claim the figures should be ninety percent. In between are the airline employees who say the true figure is probably about fifty percent.
Pilots on some airlines anxious to minimise the danger to their passengers, have begun checking their cargo manifests with the actual cargo. If they are not satisfied that the two tally, the unknown or badly packaged cargo is taken off. Their association is fighting for an inspection programme similar to those used to prevent hijacking.
"The passengers on this flight don't know it, but there's a good change there's radio-actve material - or at least hazardous material - in the cargo hold below them.
Authorities differ. The Airline industry claims only three percent of their flights carry dangerous cargo, but the pilots claim the figure should be ninety percent. Airline employees however say the true figure is somewhere in between - probably about fifty percent. They admit the shipping of radio-active materials on such passenger flights is routine. The Senate Congress Committee has been holding hearings on the problem for the last two days.
Senator Vance Hartke released a new report from the F.A.A. on its own handling of the dangerous materials. In seventy shipment observed by the F.A.A. inspectors, two hundred and forty discrepancies in handling and packaging were observed.
Pilots on a number of airlines are now checking their cargo manifests against the actual cargo being loaded. If any cargo shows up that's not on the manifest, they're ordering it taken off. If any cargo shows up improperly packed, they're ordering it taken off. Pilots Association spokesmen estimate there are twenty such incidents around the country each day. They claim an inspection programme, similar to that for a hi-jacking, is necessary for cargo. The potential danger, they claim, is even worse.