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Dangers of laser pointers

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:06 am
by Athol Terence
Medical Helicopter Pilot Suffers Eye Injury From Laser Strike

A Med Flight helicopter pilot suffered an eye injury during a transport mission, forcing the flight to be aborted. The injury was reportedly caused by a laser pointer being aimed at the cockpit of the aircraft. According to a Columbia County Sheriff's Office news release, on 25 December 2018 at approximately 5 p.m. local time, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office responded to a UTV crash On Crown Road in the Town of Scott. The Town of Scott is located north of Pardeeville, WI. A 17 year-old Male suffered injuries, including a head injury. As a result of the injuries Med Flight was contacted to assist. Med Flight was unable to land at the scene of the crash and requested a landing zone in the Village of Pardeeville.

As Med Flight was attempting to land to treat and transport the crash victim, a person or persons on the ground utilised a strong laser pointer and shined it towards the helicopter. This created an unsafe condition for the operation of the helicopter posing a threat to the helicopters flight and those on the ground. The pilot of the helicopter suffered an eye injury from the laser. The helicopter was utilising night vision during the flight. The Med Flight was forced to abort the landing and had to return to its home base where the pilot was treated for the injury. The crash victim had to be transported for treatment via ground ambulance. During the initial investigation a Columbia County Deputy was injured attempting to locate the person(s) responsible for utilising the laser pointer. The Deputy suffered a lower leg injury which required treatment at a hospital.

Title 18 USC Chapter 2 § 39A, which makes it a Federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. The crime is punishable by a fine up to $250,000 and five years’ imprisonment. Wisconsin Statute prohibits obstructing emergency or rescue personnel (941.37) a class I Felony and Reckless Endangerment (941.30) a class F Felony.

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