Police Appeal For Witnesses After 'Laser Attack' On RAF Aircraft

Thames Valley Police said this kind of attack has the "potential to cause a serious incident".

Police are appealing for witnesses after a "laser attack" on an RAF jet in Oxfordshire.

The incident involving the C-17 transport aircraft happened around 17:50 on Saturday evening and was the third incident of its kind this month.

The aircraft was flying in the area of Cassington and Eynsham, around eight miles from RAF Brize Norton when it was targeted.

There were no injuries and the aircraft landed safely, according to Thames Valley Police.

Investigating officer, PC Renee Gabbey-Cristofini, said: "Due to the location of this third incident, this is being linked to previous attacks.

“These incidents are very concerning and pose a real threat to the aircraft, those on board and the wider public.

“I am urging anybody who has any information about this attack, or two previous ones over Chipping Norton and Charlbury, to please contact police.

“These are highly reckless acts and has the potential to cause a serious incident."

Former commercial airline pilot Chris Hammond once experienced a laser attack.

"Everybody has inadvertently looked at a lightbulb, and if you close your eyes you can see the lightbulb burned in on your retina. These laser things are quite a lot more powerful than that," he told Forces News.

"Imagine you got that burned on your retina, and say you are looking down the barrel of a rifle, the size of a rifle, a moving target 200 metres away, and you've got to hit the target... that's what it looks like trying to land an airplane looking at a runway approaching," he said.

"It makes everything really fuzzy. It is very disconcerting and it takes your mind off the job," he added.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told Forces News that incidents involving lasers are "rare" and "jeopardise flight safety". 

Anyone with information is urged to call 101, quoting the reference number '43200061703' or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Cover image: Library image of an RAF C-17 aircraft (Picture: RAF).