Devon Air Ambulance pilot dazzled by headlight attack

The Devon Air Ambulance comes in to land at its Eaglescott air base in North Devon.

The Devon Air Ambulance comes in to land at its Eaglescott air base in North Devon. - Credit: Archant

The air ambulance was forced to make an unplanned landing at its North Devon base after being blinded by car headlights in what appears to be a deliberate attack.

The helicopter made a night training flight from its Exeter airbase to Eaglescott on Thursday, October 16 at around 7.30pm, with the pilot wearing night vision googles.

Rob Mackie, safety manager for Devon Air Ambulance, said as they landed they saw a car pull up in the car park, then as the aircraft lifted to return to Exeter, the car repositioned itself and began ‘aggressively flashing’ its headlights at the helicopter.

Night vision goggles flare if bright light is shone on them, effectively blinding the pilot and the only safe option was for the crew to switch them off and land, which they did safely.

A crew member headed towards the car, but it made off at speed and could not be identified.


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Mr Mackie said: “Laser attacks are still too common a thing with aircraft, with our colleagues at Wiltshire Air Ambulance having been targeted just a few weeks ago.

“However, this incident is deeply concerning for us as our airbase in North Devon is extremely remote, but also these people were watching and waiting for us, apparently with the intention of causing our crew and aircraft harm.”

DAA would urge anyone who knows anything about this incident to call 01392 466666 (office hours) or email info@daat.org.

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