Helicopter Medic Injured in Laser Incident Over Dallas

Police searching for person who shined laser at chopper

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    Michael Pruitt, 30, of Breckinridge, a paramedic for Air Evac Lifeteam in Wichita Falls, told officers he was blinded in his right eye. (Published Friday, Jan 17, 2014)

    A medical helicopter made an unplanned landing at Dallas Love Field early Friday after someone on the ground shined a laser and temporarily blinded a paramedic on board, police said.

    A police helicopter searched but was unable to find the source of the light around 4:30 a.m., police said.

    Paramedic Injured by Laser Pointed at Medical Helicopter

    [DFW] Paramedic Injured by Laser Pointed at Medical Helicopter
    A paramedic was temporarily blinded and the medical helicopter he was riding in was forced to make an emergency landing at Dallas Love Field Friday morning when someone pointed a laser at the aircraft. (Published Friday, Jan 17, 2014)

    Michael Pruitt, 30, of Breckinridge, a paramedic for Air Evac Lifeteam in Wichita Falls, told officers he was blinded in his right eye.

    The crew had been headed to St. Paul University Hospital with a patient. Instead, they landed at Love Field and met a ground ambulance.

    The injured paramedic and flight nurse accompanied their patient in the ambulance and when they arrived at the hospital, the medic was also examined for his eye injury.

    "It's my understanding he's fine," said Julie Heavrin, a spokeswoman for Air Evac Lifeteam, which is based in Missouri.

    But Michael Pruitt's father said his son is still unable to see out of his injured eye and is suffering from a bad headache.

    "We think his eye will be fine, but you never know until it heals," said Carroll Pruitt. "He's been in a lot of pain."

    FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford said the laser came from the area of Interstate 35 and Harry Hines Boulevard.

    The Dallas-Fort Worth area averages one to two laser reports a week, he said.

    Last year, there were 75 such reports in North Texas and 3,800 nationwide.

    Police investigated a report of someone pointing a laser at aircraft from the same area on Friday night, according to police reports.