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Another Coast Guard aircraft tagged by laser pointer

  • A Coast Guard C-130 aircraft prepares to go on a training mission. (Star-Advertiser archive)

    A Coast Guard C-130 aircraft prepares to go on a training mission. (Star-Advertiser archive)

For the third time in four months a Coast Guard aircraft has been tagged by a laser pointer.

The latest incident occurred Tuesday night when a C-130 aircraft on approach into Kalaeloa Airfield was hit by a laser pointer. There were eight people on board the aircraft at the time. None of the individuals were actually hit by the laser, which made three or four passes of the aircraft before vanishing. 

The incident happened at approximately 9:08 p.m., according to a Coast Guard spokesperson.

Three of the eight people on board saw the laser, but looked away and no one was affected, the Coast Guard said.

Last month a Coast Guard HC-130H Hercules aborted a landing at the Kahului Airport on Maui and was forced to return to Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu after an individual on the Valley Isle with a laser pointer targeted the aircraft.The crew was conducting night training missions at the time the laser targeted the aircraft Jan. 28.

On Oct 23, a Coast Guard  MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew was forced to return to Barbers Point after someone shone a laser at them when they was two miles offshore of Oahu.The crew’s flight mechanic and rescue swimmer were affected, compromising their abilities to perform their duties, the service said.

Federal law makes pointing a laser at an aircraft a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $11,000 per violation, according to the FBI.

Targeting an aircraft with a laser can cause glare, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision.

In October, the FBI reported that the number of laser attacks in the U.S. is on the rise. Incidents are projected to reach 3,700 this year—compared to just 283 in 2005. That’s a rise of more than 1,100 percent.

To report a laser attack, dial 911, or e-mail the Federal Aviation Administration at laserreports@FAA.gov or contact your nearest FBI field office.

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