Pilot targeted in laser attack

AN RAF pilot has spoken of the dangers of high-powered lasers after a bright light was flashed into his cockpit while he was flying over Suffolk.

Simon Tomlinson

AN RAF pilot has spoken of the dangers of high-powered lasers after a bright light was flashed into his cockpit while he was flying over Suffolk.

Flight Lieutenant Bob Dewes, from Wattisham Airfield, was forced to cover his eyes when a green light was shone at his Sea King helicopter at around 7.45pm on Tuesday night.

Police are now investigating the incident which happened while the crew was flying over Grundisburgh on a routine training operation.


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Fl Lt Dewes said: “I saw a bright light in my peripheral vision. It was much more intense than a torch. I covered my eyes and flew back to base.

“Cheap, high-powered lasers are more and more available and it is causing a big problem. People need to realise it is illegal and dangerous.”

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A direct hit to the eyes from a laser can cause blindness, but the crew escaped unhurt and returned safely to base.

A statement from the RAF said: “The RAF treats any potential threats to safety very seriously and we are co-operating fully with a police investigation. Modern highly accurate aircraft systems can pinpoint ground locations and this information will be made available to police.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “A green light was shone up at the helicopter which was endangering the safety of the aircraft. It could have proved fatal if the pilot had lost control of the aircraft. We want to re-iterate how dangerous this act can be.”

This incident comes days after a court in Ipswich heard how a quick-thinking Suffolk police helicopter pilot managed to avoid a disaster when laser left him unable to see the controls.

Glen Porter, 20, of St Augustine's Road, Ipswich, admitted endangering the helicopter on April 27 this year and is due to be sentenced on October 27.

The case is the first time in Suffolk, and only the second time in the country, that someone has been prosecuted for the offence - which can result in up to five years in prison.

Anyone with information about this latest incident should call Pc Peter Haig at Wickham Market Safer Neighbourhood Team on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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