Norfolk Police said it’s the seventh report since 2021 that there of someone on the ground in the Attleborough area shining their green laser beam at an aircraft
An air ambulance crew were nearly dazzled by a green laser pointed at their helicopter in the seventh incident of its kind over a country town.
Video footage taken from the East Anglian Air Ambulance helicopter – once flown by Prince William – captured the laser beam being directed at the aircraft at night. The terrifying incident happened as the helicopter was on its way to a medical emergency at around 2.45am on December 27 and flying over Attleborough, Norfolk.
Norfolk Police confirmed it is the seventh report since 2021 that there of someone on the ground in the Attleborough area shining their green laser beam at an aircraft. The incident has prompted the EAAA charity to highlight the dangers of shining lasers at aircraft, and appeal from for information to help identify those responsible.
Anyone caught shining a laser at a plane or helicopter could potentially be jailed for up to five years for endangering an aircraft. Captain Seb Powderham, of Babcock International Group which provides pilots for the EAAA, said: “Lasers directed at aircraft can significantly impact flight operations.
“Most importantly, if a laser were to incapacitate the pilot’s ability to operate due to impaired vision, flight safety would be compromised. Short-term effects include temporary flash blindness and potential distraction at a critical stage of flight. Long-term effects could include permanent damage to the eye.”
“Pilots may be required to manoeuvre the aircraft to protect the crew from the source of the laser, adjust cockpit lighting to minimise the damaging effects of the laser, update planned landing options or abandon the mission altogether. All of which ultimately impact safety and distract from the operational tasking.
“We hope by releasing the footage we can not only support Norfolk Police in identifying those responsible for this particular incident but can further highlight the risks of shining lasers at any aircraft.”
Captain Powderham added that anyone pointing a laser at an air ambulance could be “ultimately putting lives at risk” by delaying a life-threatening emergency.
Norfolk Police is appealing for information about the latest incident which is the first time that the EAAA has recorded footage of a laser being pointed up to a helicopter. PC Dion Phillips, the Attleborough Beat Manager, said: “All the reported incidents happen overnight, often in the early hours of the morning.
“We’ve looked into every incident, and haven’t been able to identify the person responsible, which is why we’re appealing to the local community and people living in Attleborough to share any information with us. We think the person responsible is probably in the town centre at the time.”
Incidents involving lasers directed at aircraft, including air ambulances, have happened up and down the country in recent years. Prince William was a pilot for the EAAA between March 2015 and July 2017 when he quit to start full-time royal duties
Anyone with any information, such as doorbell footage or CCTV from the early hours of December 27 that may have captured the laser operator in action is asked to contact Norfolk Police’s Attleborough team on [email protected] or phone 101.