Why Matt Died

For those of you who knew Matthew you know he kept himself fit, went to the gym on a regular basis and generally had a healthy life style. So when he started to feel unwell towards the end of 2013 it was a concern for all of us. Despite many tests and visits to his doctor and hospitals, including A&E after one flight because he felt so ill, MRI scans and examinations nobody was able to figure out what was happening, why he was losing weight, why he had digestive issues and felt tired a lot of the time. They thought he might have had crone’s disease.

On Thursday Jan 30th 2014 Matt returned from a trip to Accra and went for another MRI scan, he spent the evening with his friends, a few red wines some pizza music and a bit of dancing.Then while everyone went downstairs to tidy up the dishes and do the washing up Matt went to have a rest on the sofa, he went to sleep and never woke up. His friends dog started barking and she came upstairs to see why and found Matt had stopped breathing. She went straight into CPR procedure as all trained crew do, Matt’s other friends helped and an ambulance was called. It was there in quick time apparently and the para-medics took over and continued to try and revive Matt all the way to the hospital and into A&E but he never came back.

Fiona and I were in Dubai at the time and his closest friend was in the worst position anyone could be in, trying to keep us up to date on Matt in A&E over the phone and then having to tell us he had died.

We flew back from Dubai that day and were met at the airport by Matt’s two closest friends who supported us over the weekend along with a bunch of Matt’s crew colleagues .

On the Saturday one of Matt’s friends had a call from a solicitor wanting to talk to us about Matt’s passing but at that time we were still trying to come to terms with what happened to Matt. It turned out the solicitor was part of a support group that included ex-BA crew who were trying to raise awareness of crew deaths caused by long term, and sometimes short term, exposure to contaminated cabin air, they said they thought they knew why Matt might have passed away as he did.

Matt’s postmortem on the Monday showed no apparent reason for his passing, it ruled out crones disease, and the coroner could not tell us why he died. I decided to call back the solicitor to see why he had called and found out about the effect breathing cabin air can have on some people and the support group that was in place. Fiona and I then decided to have a second specialist postmortem carried out on Matthew by a leading forensic pathologist from Holland. The forensic pathologist found there was evidence of chronic exposure to organophosphates, the results were then examined in the US by one of, if not the, worlds leading authority on organophosphate poisoning and the results were confirmed.

The most difficult part of all of this to come to terms with is that the airlines, industry and the government have known this has been happening for decades but are doing nothing to prevent it.

You can find out more on the subject matter from a number of web sites but the best one to look at is www.aerotoxic.org

62 thoughts on “Why Matt Died”

  1. Horrible to hear this, a preventable death, if bot for the neglicence of airlines and governments alike. I know this wont bring Matt back, but is an admirable fight. If I can help, please emajl me.

  2. Hello,

    We are so sorry to hear of the cause of Matt’s passing .
    As crew ourselves we would be happy to help with a donation towards any legal fees that you might be funding for justice, please let us know how we can help .
    Mike & Emma Blythe
    WW cabin crew

  3. Firstly, I would like to say how sorry I am for the loss of lovely Matt. I flew with Matt at EasyJet and BA lots and he was such a lovely guy. I feel really privaliged to have known him and worked with him. Unfortunately I was unable to attend Matts funeral.Thank you also for making this website to celebrate Matts life but also to try and get justice for what happened to him. Hopefully We will get some justice for what happened to him and hopefully to stop this happening in the future. All my love and thoughts. Katie. XXXX

  4. carole stant says:

    Cant believe this has happened to Matt. I flew with him a few times and he was always the picture of health. A man who took great care of himself. Naturally when he died I assumed it must have been other problems as he was so fit…ie an accident. Hopefully this will enable the truth of aerotoxic poisoning to come out. It has been known for many years that cabin crew were nearly 20% more likely to get cancer. When I joined there was an article in the BMJ and I asked at BA medical centre. They dismissed it. Obviously not a fact they want made public. To fly to die? God bless Matt and sending much love to his family. X

  5. I will support anything required to raise this awareness. After hearing and reading these reasons for Matts tragic death I am extremely concerned!!

  6. Simon Yuille says:

    I often think about Matt, I never met him but after a few attempts swapped a trip together so he could go on my 5 day trip to Tokyo last January. Then I read that he had passed and wondered why. This explains a lot and the truly horrific thing is that there are so many crew going before their time, 26 in the last year alone I believe.
    This needs shouting from the rooftops before other people go!!
    R I P young Matt

  7. Linda holmes says:

    As a serving BA crewmember, I am in tears reading this. I will support this wholeheartedly, I feel that on “legacy” there has been an large amount of deaths as we are an ageing fleet, but that that also means we have spent a very long time breathing in that air. I thank Angel Fleet for bringing this more apparent. anything I can do at all…xxxxxxxx

  8. Helen Powell says:

    I flew with Matt to San Fran in 2013. We was great fun he had such a laugh.

    I was so upset when I heard he had died.

    Please keep me updated.


  9. Diane Toogood says:

    I find this do upsetting I knew Matt and the fact that his death was due to the job he did and could have berm avoided makes me sadder than ever.

  10. Lorraine Rose says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss but you are doing an amazing thing by taking this to court. In memory off Matt and all crew who have had unexplained illness and the souls who have passed on we deserve to know and be protected.
    Keep us up to date. Good luck.

  11. R.I.P. Matt – we will continue to bring light in to the dark subject of contaminated cabin air.
    Best wishes to your family!
    Bearnairdine , Aerotoxic victim, ex Flight Attendant and Campaigner

  12. Laerte Cardoso says:

    RIP Matt Bass

  13. Philip Francis says:

    So sorry to hear about matt…never knew him, but he worked in the same field as myself. Anything I can do, ( raising awareness, campaigning at door of Parliament, Health Secretary, even Downing Street) let me know.

  14. Amanda Sharman says:

    i am so sorry – I don’t think I know you or Matt but I just wish to express how much this has touched me. Bless you for sharing such a difficult story and bless Matt. x

  15. Such a terrible loss of a wonderful man. So loved by so many family and friends. Having lost my own sister at a young age I appreciate the pain and loss felt by his family. But ,your courage in finding out what happened to Matt is a testament in itself as to how much Matt was loved. Stay strong and see this through. You have the support of an unknown family behind you all. All BA crew. It is in the interest of us all to know what happened to Matt. I will be sharing this with as many friends as possible both within BA and other airlines and of course the wider public.
    Wishing you all the best and now every time I have a cider I will think of Matt and the apple tree.

  16. I flew for 16 years. What a sad story. RIP Matt

  17. something must be done to prevent this happening!

  18. I’m so sorry for your loss, Matt looked and seemed like a top bloke x

  19. this is so sad I heard about Matt through my son Dale a very good friend of matts through BA we really do need to get this into the courts so the more people who see all this the better I for one would like more done for all cabin crew on all flights and all air lines number one reason is my son My heart goes out to all Matts family and all his friends xx lets hope we can get something done ,,,, Terence Toy

  20. such ascary rendition , myself & my husband both fly. Please adviseis us if we can help

  21. Jennifer Howe says:

    this is very very sad and also disturbing myself and Matt met on our New Entrant course back in 2000 at easyjet.
    Myself have been flying a total of 23 years short haul now but even so
    Time out is a must

  22. This is awful

  23. John littlewood says:

    I think it’s outrageous and something should be seriously done to stop this happening to many others in the same predicament .

  24. June Freeman says:

    Such a tragic loss. Good luck with your fight, it’s a disgrace about OP poisoning and the airline cover up

    I pray you get justice x

  25. So sorry for your loss . There was talk of this year’s ago and apparently civil aviation bodies had done tests saying that the air quality was not contaminated but nobody ever believed it fully . This is so sad to hear and who knows how many people have died this way . Sorry for your loss , anything I can do I will. I didn’t know MAtt but was also with BA 15 years . I know that you will find strength to follow this through and help others Something must be done ! Sincerest wishes and heartfelt love to you all

  26. ellie lappin says:

    This shocking and something must be done about it!

  27. It iS really sad what happened to Matt.
    I am one of the crew members that have been badly intoxicated by aircraft chemicals.
    If you ever need my details and my case to be used, you can Contact me on 0034 699314707

  28. Bayle christine says:

    I am ever so sorry for Matt i did not know him .I know of a first officer who died of the same nature and family are fighting to prove that was the reason …i am so worried for all the crew and myself pregnant with my first baby i want to see my kid growing and i have 21 years with BA …please fight….i dont have the name of that first officer but easy to find on facebook …i ll pray for you and justice to be done …

  29. Hi , I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I was BA cabin crew from 2004 to 2007 and I had to leave due a mysterious illness leaving me tired for no apparent reason. It developed into full blown chronic fatigue syndrome where I felt I couldn’t walk down the streets without severe joint ache…at 27! I had no luck with my GP who as predicted wanted to shove me on a load of statins and anti depressants. It wasn’t until I saw an iridologist who looked at what was really going on in my body tat I got a diagnosis. IMO, flying did this to me and I had a long recovery.

  30. Sarah Fuller says:

    Such a terribly sad story.

  31. Valerie Suttle . says:

    This makes sense ,terrible that this young was slowly poisoned to death due to his work, this needs to be fully investigated !

  32. Carolynn Stirling says:

    I have been to A&E with a few of my crew members after a particular flight and suffered memory loss and headaches. Bassa lawyers are currently pursuing the incident but I don’t expect much will come of it.

  33. I have read the article, and it left me feeling both sad and angry, especially as Matt looked after his health it seems. I do hope both Airlines & Goverment do research in resolving this
    serious problem. A member of my family works for Cabin Crew, so naturally it is concerning.
    I am sure the authorities will investigate this, for the sake of this happening again.

  34. Matt was wonderful, he had the perfect balance between a wickedly sharp sence of humour and a kind caring soul. He was my friend and he has died needlessly and this HAS to be addressed. Time for change.

  35. Easyjet ex cabin crew here. Holy f¥€k!

  36. Tracy Connor says:

    My daughter is currently training to be cabin crew. Not good!!

  37. Ian Doddemeade says:

    I have been flying for over ten years now as cabin crew on long haul routes. This story is both shocking and incredibly sad. I had no idea this problem even existed. My thoughts are with Matt’s family and friends.

  38. Noël Smithen says:

    Deepest thoughts and prayers, hope we get to the bottom of this

  39. Sarah Howard says:

    I have flown for 20 years on various aircraft types and I am now beginning to feel, tiered, sonetimes nauseas, and literally exhausted!!! I have just gone 75% at work to help with the prevention of deteriation to my health and achieve a better life style. I feel particularly nauseas and tiered on b777.

  40. Thank you for sharing this with us.
    Sorry for your loss.
    So scary !
    Good luck with your task ahead !

  41. Mark Priestley says:

    If you need to test someone I am happy to volunteer. 14.5 years as an low cost flyer. 5 years on RAF transport airline.
    Mark Priestley

  42. Joe & Tessa Armeni says:

    What a tragedy!! It is shocking for everyone to have to come to terms with the fact that the airlines, industry and the government knew that all this has been happening and have done nothing. To them we are all just numbers, not human beings who deserve looking after and protecting from the prolonged hazards of the jobs that we do and the equipment that we use. The only thing that is important it seems, is making big money to line the pockets of those who have so much already and don’t give a jot about the cost to human life.

    Thank goodness for people like you who are fighting for justice for Matt whilst doing your utmost to prevent it happening to others.

  43. Berry jordan says:

    Just shocked ! I have heard about this but like you said – no one wants to make it public .
    I love to support this course . As I am crew myself and heard of Matt

  44. Alistair Pedlow says:

    Hi this is very worrying to read. My partner flys as crew can this affect everyone or just some people??

  45. Nicolas BONY says:

    Very sad to hear about that concerning Matt. . I used to fly with him at easyJet time in Paris orly base. Sad

  46. So tragic ! Firstly my heart goes out to the family left behind I am so sorry for your loss, truly.
    Why oh why do we hear of these type of things going on with innocent people dying unneccarily when others are aware of the causes of it ! I don’t understand how they can possibly sleep at night !!
    One wonders if they would feel the same if it was their son or daughter that had died ?
    Rest in peace Matthew
    Sending much love

  47. Wendy Atkins says:

    This is shocking and so sad for you and your family and the families of others affected. I will publish a link on my FB page and try to publicise this more widely.

    Good luck!

  48. Claire Ssali Cardy says:

    How sad is this story. I never knew Matt and don’t believe I ever flew with him but what a tragic waste of a life. Thank you for your endeavours to try and save others from this terrible plight. Let’s spread the word as a flying community and do what we can to educate people on the potential dangers they face in their daily lives. God bless you and may Matt forever rest in peace.

  49. Shirley Knox says:

    Thank you so much for all your information I have found this just heartbreaking ! I was cabin crew with BA long haul for 17 years and I also live in Dubai , I can’t thank you enough for sharing Matt would be so proud of your efforts to help others !

  50. I did not know Matt but know people who knew him. Lit is so sad that he passed away so young and that his clearly loving family are without their Son Brother uncle. This is so important to get to the bottom of this terrible problem. RIP MATT

  51. My Daughter had the same thing happen to her . Thank God her wonderful doctor stopped her flying or she could have lost her life like poor Matt. Her life has been effected so badly by her ill health still today after not flying for many many years.
    The Airlines and manafacturers of the Aircraft who have and still are using bleed air will not recognise their planes are making people sick all around the world. The almighty dollar means more to them than peoples lives .
    How many more have to die ?

  52. I used to live in Singapore and made many flights back and forth. I do remember telling a stewardess that the air was very poor,.could she get us some more air. She went off and after a while the air did seem to freshen up.
    I hope the bringing this up in the papers that the airlines will act.
    Joy Rutter

  53. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I am a 30+ yrs flight attendant for a carrier in the US. Over the years, I’ve had several exposures to hydraulic fluid. My last one was in 2009, and it caused me to have extreme vertigo for 2 weeks. Companies know this occurs and have the hardest time admitting it, I’m sure due to lawsuit issues. My heart goes out to all of you. Hopefully, if we press them enough, airline companies will work to solve these “engine bleed air issues”, and the skies will be a safer place for all of us to work and transport.

  54. Sue Billington says:

    Dear Family of Matt,

    I am x-BA crew having worked out of Gatwick & Heathrow for just over 10 years. I left in 2005 as even though I loved my job & lifestyle my health was becoming so poor. I think it took me about 7 years before I start feeling fully well again. I had the same sort of symptoms that you mention Matt had. I was chatting to an old friend from my flying days this morning & she told me about what had happened to Matt & your campaign.
    Although I did not know Matt well I remember flying with him once or twice & what a beautiful guy he was. I wish you all the best & hope that you get justice for Matt & help bring about changes for crew in the future in his honor. I m sure your apples will make the most thirst quenching cider.

    with much Love


  55. Ornella Raanaas says:

    Despite what the CEO Willy Walsh say BA will place profit before people, now we must change the perception of people and increase their awareness so that they will be forced to place the appropriate filters in place. There won’t be any consolation for Matt’s loved ones but at least we will make his life and his death count. I think the fight must go on and reparation must be brought forward as Matt’s life cannot be brought back. My solidarity to you Matt and my deepest condolences to all your loved ones. RIP dear colleague. Ornella Raanaas

  56. Kim Aminu says:

    i left 2 years ago. Suffering from numbness in fingers and toes, lack of taste and smell. I know it’s real as do the airlines!

  57. Annie de Vries says:

    Dear family,

    First of all I would like to offer you my condolences for passing away of your son and brother.
    I would like to wish you all the best with your campaign. Also my husband is one of the sufferers of the aerotoxic syndrome. What we personally try to do in The Netherlands (where we live) is to raise awarness of this aviation scandal. It is about time that no longer people get serious health problems, or even worse, die by working in an unsafe environment. We spread the news where we can, by talking to other people about it and share every media announcement about it on the strong social media Facebook. So we did with this article about Matt and some others shared it too on the Dutch Facebook I think as soon as passengers (frequent flyers) for example en mass start questioning the aircraft company about this matter, things might change. If only one company has the guts to start installing filters and advertise with it….they all will follow! I wish you the strength you need to live on with this loss in your family.

  58. As a aerotoxic sufferer I can imagine what Matt was going through for all that time.
    I am was lucky (back in 2011) that my wife alerted me to how sick I was…. I heeded her advice and reported sick. After one attempt to get back to work I was once again terribly ill, and after learning about aerotoxic syndrome never went back to work again.
    End of a great career, but luckily not the end of my life.
    My compliments for bringing yet another case out into the open…. something has to be done!
    Kind regards,
    M Miller (retired ill flight crew)

  59. Stuart Dunlop says:

    I was with Matt in Accra and we had lunch by the pool which lasted over 2 hours and I do remember he disappeared from the table a couple of times without saying anything. Who was I to question?? He was quiet that day I have to say. Now I know what he was going through. A more dedicated and professional crew member you would have difficulty finding. Gone too soon and my heart goes out to his family

  60. So sorry to read of this loved flight attendant’s untimely passing. I am not one of the profesionals. None the less, I have a comment ,as I to have experienced the sickness in the passenger cabin. The flight was from Miami to La. In fact the flight was delayed due to this mistery fumes. Well it was more like thick white mist in the passenger cabin. I did not get up so I cant say the same for crew area.
    But there is more I want to highlight, as I have experienced similar scenario while in mid flight between LA and Huston, on Delta Air. The craft was descending from 43000 to 23000 and it entered something looking like a thick twin track of smog from what appeared to be another large white airliner ahead, the cabin air became absolutely toxic. I got pretty sick and so did a number of people. That week I got my doctor to refer me to the blood test.
    It came out weird, I had an abnormal amount of arsenic and alluminium along with strontium in my blood. It has since dissipated and levels are down now, 2 years latter. I do not see how would these elements be present in jet engine oils, but I digress, So I do simpatize with all the airline workers, hope the truth will surface before many more have to die!

  61. It’s so sad what happen and we all should be more worry.
    I have been flying 12 years for an Asian company and only 4 years for BA. On my second year in BA I had a study on my health and I have been diagnostic with asthma, I wonder if this is something to do with that as I had experienced bad smells

  62. Stefania Power says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss, you are all in my thoughts and prayers and I truly hope that you will soon be able to think about or say Matt’s name without the immense pain, resentment, anger, numbness and confusion you may well be feeling right now in equal measure.

    I too was a flight attendant, for 30yrs, but took voluntary redundancy last year. I had begun to feel unwell to the point that I was fighting more and more to feel good post flight than I did before. There were other reasons for the level of stress and fatigue I was feeling but am sure that 30yrs of accumulative jetlag and breathing in of cabin air has significantly contributed to my feeling generally unwell.

    I am waiting for some in-depth blood results to see if there is a cause and I may well pass these on if I feel they will be of any help to the cause.

    It is heartbreaking to think that a job so many people followed, as their dream, has finally played the biggest part in their demise. All governments, the airlines and travel industry need to accept this truth and take responsibility for the welfare of its staff and customer. To do otherwise is professional suicide.

    Again, whilst I never knew Matt, he looks and sounded like a wonderful, kind, proud, gentle, fun person whose spirit will be sorely missed by all who knew him well. God bless you all.

    RIP Matt……may your new wings raise you way up high where you will be free to soar forever more

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