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Laser-pointer incident forces Coast Guard helicopter to land

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 03:32 p.m. HST, Oct 24, 2012

Someone shined a laser pointer at a Coast Guard helicopter Tuesday night off Oahu, affecting two crew members and prompting the helicopter to return to base at Barbers Point, the Coast Guard said today.

The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was flying nearly two miles offshore of Oahu, the Coast Guard said.

The flight mechanic and rescue swimmer were affected, compromising their abilities to perform duties, the Coast Guard said. 

“Whether this was a malicious or just irresponsible act, it is critical that the public be aware of the seriousness of lasing an aircraft,” Capt. Timothy Gilbride, commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, said in a news release. “Not only does it risk the lives of the aircrew, it can delay rescue missions or disable crews, risking the lives of distressed mariners.”

Laser pointers can cause glare, after-image, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision, all causing a great danger to the crew. If any aircrew member’s vision is compromised during a flight, Coast Guard flight rules dictate that the aircraft must abort their mission.

It is a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft. The Coast Guard said people witnessing such an incident should report it to 911.

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patk wrote:
Death penalty for the idiots who do these things. It should be classified as an act of terrorism, or worse.
on October 24,2012 | 03:50PM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Patk, the death penalty is too severe. America should be like Singapore and have whipping with a water soaked bamboo stalk as the punishment. Remember the American boy in Singapore who was whipped when Bill Clinton was president because he spray painted cars? The whipping, which prevented the kid from sitting for about a week, taught him never to do it again.
on October 24,2012 | 05:02PM
patk wrote:
A high-power laser pointer (bought on the internet) can cause INSTANT and PERMANENT eye damage.
on October 24,2012 | 03:53PM
zhawaii wrote:
Why are laser pointers even still sold legally. They have no real world use that cannot be accomplished with other devices, like a pointing stick. Only pea-brained idiots are using these to act out their immature behaviors.
on October 24,2012 | 04:33PM
aomohoa wrote:
They should banned laser pointers to minors, at least.
on October 24,2012 | 04:38PM
allie wrote:
This is attempted murder. Please prosecute this severely!
on October 24,2012 | 04:38PM
grantos wrote:
your comments are attempts of murder
on October 24,2012 | 05:55PM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Stupid Question: Did the laser pointer come from land or from sea? I would tend to believe that it came from sea. That would seriously narrow down the suspects. It doesn't sound like there was any effort to track down the culprits here. Anyone caught doing this ought to be drawn and quartered. How juvenile.
on October 24,2012 | 05:14PM
hawaiikone wrote:
does our Coast Guard still draw and quarter people? Thought that went out with Carter.
on October 24,2012 | 07:47PM
967972005 wrote:
This is the same coast guard that couldn't protect the Super Ferry from a couple of surfers. Compare and contrast them with the Coast Guard of WWII.
on October 24,2012 | 06:29PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Frankly, the Coast Guard guys sound like puzzies. GMAFB.
on October 24,2012 | 06:37PM
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