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Warning over potential consequences after Magpas Air Ambulance subject of laser attacks

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A life-saving air ambulance which serves East Anglia and beyond has been the subject of two laser attacks.

Cambridgeshire-based Magpas Air Ambulance was targeted on November 19 and again on November 26 when it had a full team of clinicians and aviation crew inside.

Now the organisation says it wants to raise awareness of the consequences of laser attacks to prevent such incidents happening again.

The Magpas Air Ambulance in flight. Picture: Magpas
The Magpas Air Ambulance in flight. Picture: Magpas

Pilot, Captain Chris Sherriff, said: “The effects of the laser depends on what type of laser it is and unless you’re an expert, you’ll rarely know the extent of the damage it can cause.

"From temporary short term loss of vision to serious permanent damage, a laser attack can not only be extremely dangerous in the moment, when multiple lives are in your hands as the pilot, but it can also have a severe long term, debilitating impact too.

“We obviously hope that no one is doing this maliciously or intending to cause any harm – and you can often see the beam in the sky or it lights up the cockpit first and alerts you to the danger.

Magpas air ambulance
Magpas air ambulance

"However, it’s important to remember that what may seem like innocent fun, could have extremely serious consequences for all involved.”

Laser attacks are a criminal offence with offenders facing an unlimited fine or a jail sentence of up to five years for endangering an aircraft.

Hannah Disney, a spokesman for the charity, said: “Fortunately, the two occurrences have both taken place when the air ambulance team have been flying back from emergency incidents.

"However, with the charity being called to the most seriously ill and injured patients across the East of England, and already dealing with the additional challenges that providing lifesaving care throughout the winter months bring, it’s important to note the detrimental effect such attacks could have on so many people.”

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