Bath City

Laser attack on air ambulance halts Bath rescue mission Bath City News

Air ambulance crews responding to a medical emergency around 9.45pm last night (Sunday April 10) in Bath were subjected to a laser attack which interrupted their mission and put lives at risk. The Bell 429 helicopter was approaching Combe Down when a green laser beam flashed its direction several times, Wiltshire Air Ambulance reported.

As a result, the crew had to abort their landing and withdraw from the mission. The pilot and one of the critical care paramedics on board suffered headaches and felt their eyesight had been affected by the incident.

Matt Wilcock, Wiltshire Air Ambulance Chief Pilot, said: “This laser attack had a real impact, putting several lives at risk. We were unable to treat a patient in peri-arrest. This is a critical time when our ICU paramedics are able to intervene before the patient goes into complete cardiac arrest.

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“The incident also affected our crew, meaning we were unable to continue flying for the rest of the shift, with a potential ripple effect for other patients. The crew will benefit from checks comprehensive medical and charity support.

“We are grateful to the South West Ambulance Service for continuing to support the patient and the local police, who themselves recently suffered laser attacks from their own helicopter.”

He added: “No one should shine laser pens on planes. Not only is it illegal and very dangerous, but you never know who this plane is helping. Just think if he was on his way to help you or someone close to you.

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Avon & Somerset Police Inspector Ruth Gawler said: ‘Shining a laser at any aircraft seriously endangers the lives of those inside as well as those on the ground . Not only is this extremely reckless, but it is also a criminal offense punishable by an unlimited fine or a prison term of up to five years.”

Anyone with information about this incident should call the police on 101 and tell the call handler they are calling in relation to April 10 log 1134.

Mike Pavey, Crime and Violence Reduction Officer at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘We will work closely with our colleagues at Wiltshire Air Ambulance and local police forces to find and prosecute those responsible. of this serious crime.

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“The critical care team provides patients with enhanced life skills when they need them most. They are a highly valued team and they do not deserve this unacceptable behavior when trying to provide patient care. Every emergency service worker should be able to do their job without fear of attack.

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust sent an operations officer and a double-crewed land ambulance to the original incident and transported a patient to the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Wiltshire Air Ambulance is a charity that provides helicopter emergency medical service (HEMS) in Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas. It costs £4m a year to keep flying and saving lives.

The charity’s helicopter has been targeted by laser attacks four times in 2020, with another occurrence in 2021.

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This notice was published: 2022-04-11 16:40:34

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