Air ambulance pilot warns against laser attacks

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance aircraft flying at night. Picture: HIOWAA
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance aircraft flying at night. Picture: HIOWAA

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LASER attacks on the air ambulance are putting lives at risk, the service has warned.

Since starting night flights in January this year, medics have said they are more susceptible to laser attacks.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance’s chief executive, Alex Lochrane, said: ‘Aiming a laser at an aircraft can be dangerous for those on-board, but it could also mean our life-saving service is disrupted.

‘Any distractions during a landing, for example, could mean a life-saving mission is delayed or aborted. It could also distract an on-board medic carrying out critical work on an injured patient.’

A law brought into force in 2010 makes shining a light in an aircraft to dazzle a pilot a criminal offence.

Captain Dave Nicholls, who has previous experience of laser attacks, said; ‘It might seem harmless enough, but a laser shone at a helicopter in the final stages of an approach could easily be enough to cause the pilot to abort a landing.’