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Charity condemns pranksters who blinded flying medic with laser

The head of the Wales Air Ambulance has today condemned pranksters who shone a laser beam into the cockpit of its helicopter as it flew on an emergency mission, temporarily blinding its on-board doctor.

The aircraft was attending an emergency call on Saturday evening when it was targeted several times over Swansea by an apparently commercial-strength laser beam.

The aircraft’s flying doctor was temporarily blinded in the incident, from which he is still recovering today (Tuesday).

Video footage of the incident captured by the on-board camera, has now been provided to South Wales Police.

Wales Air Ambulance chief executive Angela Hughes said:

“Our aircraft was flying a rescue mission and the doctor on board was temporarily blinded.

“This could have been catastrophic. People get laser burns to their eyes and are blinded for life.

“It is beyond belief how anyone thinks it is clever to do this.”

Video footage of the moment the green laser beam illuminated the inside of the cockpit was captured by the pilot.

Ms Hughes said: “The pilot managed to avert his eyes in time and could carry on flying the aircraft.”

The incident happened after dark on Saturday evening, as the air ambulance was returning to its base in Dafen, Llanelli, following a call-out in Cardiff.

She added: “The aircraft was flying at 2,500ft over Swansea Bay. The fact a laser reached it at that height shows the beam was much stronger than any produced by a standard pen laser.

“Someone set out deliberately to try to disable our aircraft.

“We have passed the video footage to South Wales Police and I appeal to anyone who knows who did this to contact the police.”

If you have any information about the incident, please contact South Wales Police on 101.

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