Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Monday, 18 August 2008 16:56 UK

Laser blinds passenger jet pilot

The pilot of a passenger jet was blinded by a laser device as the aircraft came in to land at Durham Tees Valley Airport, police said.

The KLM jet, with 40 people onboard, landed safely after the co-pilot took the controls on Sunday night.

A Cleveland Police helicopter was also targeted as it searched an area around the airport near Darlington.

A police spokesman said a 19-year-old man had been arrested and charged with two counts of endangering an aircraft.

Ground search

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "The incoming flight from Amsterdam was coming in to land at Durham Tees Valley Airport when a laser device was shone into the cockpit.

"The pilot was temporarily blinded and the co-pilot landed the plane.

"When the police helicopter was sent to investigate, it too was targeted by the laser device.

"Officers on the ground were able to arrest a 19-year-old man, who was outside the airport, and the device recovered."

She said there were no reports of injuries. The man is due to appear at Teesside Magistrates' Court on Friday.

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