An air ambulance crew member was left with damage to his eye after he was attacked with a laser.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA), said the course of a single week, they have been subjected to three separate and deliberate laser assaults, with the latest attack resulting in an injury to one of their crew members.

On Friday evening (September 22) during a transit flight back to their Nostell air base, YAA technical crew member Alex Clark, became the victim of the most recent strike with the laser beam managing to hit him in one of his eyes resulting in a burn on his cornea.

Although he is now on a path to a full recovery, his injury emphasises the very real threats faced by YAA's crew members.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Air Ambulance laser attack

These attacks, characterised by their intermittent and seemingly random nature, have left the YAA searching for answers, as there appears to be no discernible pattern or motive behind these acts of senseless stupidity. The safety of YAA's crews and the patients they serve is paramount, and these attacks constitute a threat to both.

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Chief pilot Owen McTeggart said: "If we get a laser attack while trying to land at the site of an incident, it means we cannot land, and the injured person on the ground doesn't get the care that we are there to provide. It doesn't take much for the eyes to be permanently damaged by a laser, and while the laser itself might not be a danger if it doesn't contact the eyes, it is a massive distraction for the crew during a critical stage of flight and causes much distress.

"A lot of it is ignorance to the implications it can have on our operations. And I'm sure most people that point a laser at a helicopter think it's just a laugh and no harm is caused. But it can, in some cases, have life-changing consequences for the pilot, the crew, and if it's an air ambulance under threat, the patient in the back whose life they are trying to save."

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Mike Harrop, YAA chairman, has implored those responsible for these attacks to consider the gravity of their actions and the potential harm they are causing. 

He said: "The safety and well-being of YAA's dedicated crew members and patients are non-negotiable priorities.  Our crew shouldn’t feel fearful of flying on a shift at YAA, all because someone somewhere finds it amusing to shine lasers at aircraft, or they are ignorant to the dangers they are putting our crew in. 

"Regardless of whether YAA are being deliberately targeted or mistaken for another helicopter - it is wholly unacceptable for one of our crew members to suffer an injury due to someone else's reckless actions."