STOKE-ON-TRENT, England, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A 91-year-old World War II pilot was banned from sitting in a restored Spitfire fighter plane at a museum in Stoke-on-Trent, England.
Museum officials cited health and safety risks when they told Eric Carter he could not climb in the cockpit of the Spitfire at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, The Sun reported.
"You couldn't make it up. I used to fly those things every day fighting the Germans -- now that really was a health and safety concern!" Carter said. "To think that I couldn't sit in a stationary Spitfire in case I got hurt. I just wish the Luftwaffe had been so caring. The people at the museum had their reasons, but I had to laugh."
Carter took part in a secret air mission during the war to keep the port of Murmansk open to preserve supply lines to Russia after the Nazi invasion in 1941. He said he volunteered for the mission knowing it was very dangerous.
"I was young and must have been mad, but perhaps we were a tougher generation," Carter said.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council said on the day Carter visited the museum, there wasn't a proper seat in the plane and the paint on the plane contained traces of radioactive radium.
"For those reasons, and because of his age, the people on the day thought it best he did not sit in the plane," the council said.
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