A laser from the ground affected the vision of a captain on a Virgin Atlantic flight from London, United Kingdom to Tel Aviv, Israel. The Boeing 787 safely returned to its origin airport, London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
The Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787 Dreamliner (registered as G-VDIA), was operating flight VS453 from LHR to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) on March 15, 2021. As it was en route to Israel and flying over Paris, France, a person from the ground pointed a laser at the Dreamliner, which affected the captain’s ability to see. The aircraft almost immediately turned around and landed safely at LHR.
The perpetrator was later arrested by the local police, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“The safety and security of our people and our customers is paramount and this was a precautionary step taken by the operating crew,” a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson of the airline told AeroTime News, adding that the carrier “swiftly notified the police and remain in close contact with them and the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).”
Virgin Atlantic sent out a replacement Boeing 787 (registered as G-VAHH) to conduct the flight to the Israeli city on March 16, 2021, which successfully landed in TLV at 4:46 PM local time (UTC +2).