Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Laser 'blinds' air ambulance crew

The lives of an air ambulance crew and a seriously injured man were put at risk by someone shining a laser pen at the pilot as he was trying to land.

Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance said a high-powered beam had obscured the flight instruments and the pilot's view a number of times.

The aircraft was carrying a man, 37, from Kent who had fallen 29ft (8.8m) off scaffolding in Leicestershire.

It managed to land safely at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.

'Serious matter'

The ambulance service said a laser pen had been shone by someone sitting in a car parked close to the hospital's landing pad at about 1500 GMT on Wednesday.

It was shone into the helicopter cockpit while it was landing and again when it was taking off, the service said.

Steve Porter, air operations manager said: "This is a really serious matter.

"Not only is this childish prank putting lives at risk as it is difficult for the pilots to see, but it also adds valuable time on to a life saving mission as we try to land the helicopter and transfer seriously ill patients to further care."



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