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Helicopter pilots to get anti-laser glasses

Helicopter pilots working for the Swiss Air Rescue Service (Rega) are to be given special glasses to protect them from laser attacks.

Rega said on Tuesday that the decision had been taken in view of the increasing number of such attacks, which had risen from six in 2009, to 11 in 2010 and had already reached 16 this year.

Laser beams can burn the skin and seriously damage the eyes. A strong laser pointer can cause irreversible harm. 

The attacks are often carried out as pranks.

Both the air force and the Swiss Federal Railways have been subjected to laser attacks, according to spokesmen for the two organisations. In September a train driver was blinded at a station near Basel and had to be treated in hospital.

The sale of strong laser pointers was banned in Switzerland in May. The Federal Health Office is currently reviewing the possibility of banning their possession and use. Checks carried out by the Federal Office of Metrology this year showed that more than 95 per cent of the pointers tested were stronger than the permitted limit.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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