Thames Valley Police has appealed for witnesses after two aircraft were targeted in a laser attack in Oxfordshire.
The incidents occurred on Tuesday 4th February and Wednesday 5th February after two training aircraft were targetted with a high-power green laser in the areas of Chipping Norton and Charlbury in Oxfordshire.
Both of the aircraft had taken off on training flights from Oxford Airport before they came under attack.
In the first incident, an aircraft carrying three passengers was targetted at around 19:15 hours in the Chipping Norton area.
The 21-year-old trainee pilot sustained a laser burn to his eye during the incident. The aircraft made an emergency landing, and the pilot was treated at John Radcliffe Hospital for burn injuries.
At around 17:45 hours on the 5th February, another aircraft was about 3 miles north of Charlbury when a laser device was shone at the plane.
Nobody was injured in the second attack, and the plane landed safely.
Investigating officer PC Renee Gabbey-Cristofini, based at Banbury police station, said:
“These were extremely reckless acts which placed both aircraft in significant danger.
“The trainee pilot of the first aircraft suffered injuries to the back of his eye as a result of this attack and the injuries may result in him being unable to fulfil a career in aviation.
“The recklessness of such acts not only endangers the aircraft and all passengers on board, but also those on the ground, as attacks such as this seriously jeopardise safety.
“We do not know exactly the origin of these laser attacks, but given that they both happened in close proximity to each other, I am appealing to anybody who has any information that can assist this investigation to contact police, quoting reference number 43200040257.
“Shining laser beams into the sky at aircraft is not acceptable, and we are investigating thoroughly.
“I am urging anybody who may have any information to please get in touch.
“If you do not wish to speak directly with police, you can also make a report online or call the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Andy McFarlane, CEO Leading Edge Aviation said:
“We are appalled by the seriousness of these events and are working with Thames Valley Police to ensure this cannot happen again.
“We are proud of the professionalism shown by our crew in taking such decisive action, without which the consequences could have been far more serious.
“Not only did the crew remain calm under difficult circumstances, they used their professional training to ensure the safest outcome for the flight”.
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