The Great North Air Ambulance crew has been put at risk after being targeted by laser strikes while they were returning to base after responding to a call. The incident took place at 5:49PM on January 14, while the helicopter was returning to Durham Tees Valley Airport. A laser beam was shone right into the cabin of the medical flight helicopter.
Pilot Warns Against the Dangers of Laser Strikes For Medical Flight Helicopters
GNAAS pilot, Captain Jay Steward has made a statement, warning against the dangers of laser strikes for helicopters. Laser strikes can temporarily blind the pilot, who can lose control of the aircraft. This could put the entire crew at risk. Earlier, a Wales Air Ambulance medical flight doctor experienced temporary blindness and eye damage after being targeted by a laser strike.
During this particular incident, the beam only hit the aircraft for a few seconds. As a result, none of the crew members experienced any eyesight damage. The charity’s aircraft has been a target of laser strikes for the fourth time since November 2016. They have filed a report about the incident to aviation authorities and the police.
GNAAS Urges Public to Report Any Suspected Culprits
Captain Steward also urges the public to call the police in case they see anyone recklessly using a laser pen or if they have video evidence. He also stated that laser strikes are a serious offence. In a recent incident, a man was in jail for 20 weeks for attacking a police helicopter with a laser strike.
There is a new bill being currently considered by the U.K Parliament so that there will be tougher punishments for people who have committed laser strikes. The Laser Misuse Bill, if passed, will ensure that people who have threatened aircraft safety would face a maximum jail term of five years along with unlimited fines.