Laser beam no laughing matter

Although not often reported to police, incidents involving lasers being pointed at aircraft are serious and could have deadly consequences, says Kelowna Const. Steve Holmes.

On July 8, a 737 was on approach to the Kelowna airport when the flight crew reported that a green laser was being pointed at the aircraft from the ground.

Although no one was affected by it, the potential for harm was there, noted Holmes.

“Police were not able to determine exactly where the laser was being pointed from or what kind of device it was. It is believed that it was likely a laser pointer,” Holmes said.

Green lasers are many times more powerful than red lasers and the green beams can been seen at night.

Most laser pointers are a Class III, meaning that they are medium powered and have the potential to cause permanent damage to the retinas of the eyes. A short flash to the eye causes temporary flash blindness followed by longer term after images.

A pilot, on final approach to the runway, cannot afford any distractions let alone the disabling flash of a laser in the eyes, Holmes said.

It is a criminal offence under the Aeronautics Act to aim a directed bright light source into the cockpit of an aircraft. A conviction, under the act, carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, or both.

If anyone has any information about this recent incident, call Lake Country RCMP, 250-766-2288 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS).


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