Laser beam pointed at air ambulance in south Warwickshire ‘could have led to blindness’

The Midlands Air Ambulance.
The Midlands Air Ambulance.

An air ambulance doctor is furious after coming close to being blinded by a laser beam while rescuing a patient.

Nick Crombie, trauma doctor and clinical lead for the Midlands Air Ambulance, who was on a night shift with a trauma team with West Midlands Ambulance Service on Monday night (August 11), was accompanying an aircrew with an injured man who had been involved in a crash on the A429 near Ettington.

The team was flying the man, who had been driving a van that was in collision with a car, to the University Hospital in Coventry when they noticed the beam following their craft.

Dr Crombie said: “We had been to a car crash that left five people injured. Even though it was quite late and dark, we were still able to fly the most seriously injured to hospital.

“As we flew over Warwick at a height of more than 1,200ft, a laser was pointed at the aircraft.

“Fortunately for us, the pilot is highly experienced and dealt with it. But, had the laser caught anyone’s eye albeit briefly, it could have led to blindness for at least ten minutes and a loss of spatial awareness.”

He added: “Had we not taken action and avoided being been dazzled, it would have prevented us landing until the visual effects had settled, delaying treatment of the casualty. It has the same effect as deliberately slowing down an ambulance en-route to hospital.

“If we can find whoever is responsible, we will seek to have them prosecuted.”