(K7KTR) 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 breached,” Cox said in an interview with Khon2. “I would like to see is 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 there is no risk to the public. “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.
Late Thursday, Marine Corps Base Hawaii spokesman Maj. Alan Crouch said testing of the sandbar had already been performed and no radiological contamination was found at the crash site. Crouch confirmed low levels of radiation were found during the nine days that crews worked to remove wreckage of the helicopter off the sandbar. “During the recovery efforts, some aircraft components were found to have a low level of contamination,” Crouch said in a written statement. “All materials found to be contaminated were decontaminated or appropriately contained here on base. All personnel involved in the handling of any contaminated material were screened to verify they were not contaminated.”