AUDIO: Laser incident forces flight back to Heathrow
BY SALMA RAZIA KHATUN
Over 400 laser incidents here in the UK, 48 of them were at London Heathrow Airport last year between January and June.
Now in 2016, we have had our first incident of a Virgin Atlantic plane, flight VS025, returning back to Heathrow airport after it was supposed to head to New York. The pilot was shot in the eye by a laser beam and reported that he was feeling unwell as which point the plane was turned back.
252 passengers and 15 crew members we flown back to the airport and offered overnight accommodation.
Passengers have been expressing themselves on twitter with mixed responses. Some are rather frustrated and annoyed at the delay and some think it was right to turn around for the safety of the pilots and passengers.
— JustFayeLouise (@Justfayelouise) February 15, 2016
According to the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), a laser can result in temporary vision loss associated with flash blindness; a “visual interference that persists after the source of illumination has been removed”.
The dangerous game by aircraft spotters where they try and shine their beam onto the aircraft can and has led to pilots going temporarily blind and even causing very bad headaches.
Janet Alexander, a commercial airline pilot, described the experience on BBC News as “very like a lightning strike in that it’s very instantaneous, very, very bright light, which is dazzling basically. And of course if it’s targeted in exactly the wrong way you could permanently damage someone’s sight.”
Police have been investigating in to where the laser beam may have come from.
Jessica Hutchby interviewed Pilot Suda Kamal on the dangers of shining lasers at planes.
Audio: please specify correct url