Pilot blinding suspect identified, police say

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Police have identified a man who last weekend blinded a helicopter pilot of the National Armed Forces with a laser beam, LETA was told at the Zemgale regional department of the State Police.

Police officers from Aizkraukle established that the perpetrator was a 41-year-old resident of Sunākste county.

The man explained that he had freely bought the laser device from an online retailer and just wanted to test it. The man admitted to having acted recklessly and expressed remorse.

He now faces a fine of €300 to €700.

As reported, The National Armed Forces helicopter last Friday and Saturday was assisting in transportation of seriously ill patients from Daugavpils to Riga. During both flights, helicopter pilots were dazzled with a bright green laser beam while flying above Sunakste county in Jaunjelgava region.

"Transportation of patients, when every second is of importance, is an extremely responsible social function performed by the National Armed Forces in cooperation with the Specialized Medicine Center. Therefore, I call on the society to respect and act responsibly in relation to the work of these services and not endanger safety of flights," said Latvian Chief of Defense Leonids Kalnins.

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