Really stupid people playing with lasers

The dolts who aim lasers at aircraft cockpits need to be hammered with the full force of available penalties (long time in prison or $10,000 fines) rather than given a tut-tut small fine or community service.

This is going to result in a terrible tragedy if these dimwits are not pulled up and stopped.

A man who aimed a laser light at the Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter on its return from a late-night search was not operating under the cover of darkness as he thought.

The pilot and crewmen on the helicopter, returning to base at Nelson Airport around 2am yesterday, had a laser light shone at them. It is a criminal offence under civil aviation law because of the danger it presents to pilots.

Nelson Marlborough rescue helicopter pilot Jarrod Colbourne said today the pilot and crewmen were returning from the Mt Owen search for tramper Alistair Levy when the incident happened.

They were able to pinpoint the property and ultimately the man responsible by using the chopper’s onboard Forward Looking Infra Red Unit.

“They were also able to use the unit, which is used to locate any heat source during a search, and the pilot could see the person walking around the balcony of the house,” Colbourne said.

Pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford said onboard intensive care paramedic Jon Leach, who was operating the infra red unit and therefore not wearing night-vision glasses, was most affected by the laser strike


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