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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

Laser pointer shone into cockpit of rescue chopper

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Police are investigating reports that Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was targeted by a laser pointer during a training exercise at around 7.30pm on Monday night.

The laser light, which entered the cockpit during doctor and paramedic training at Lismore Airport, is believed to have been shone from the southern end of Keen Street.

Westpac Helicopter GM Kris Beavis said danger of laser attacks on aircraft is well documented. ‘

‘One of the issues of aircraft being faced with this kind of activity is that the beam is much larger at long distances than people might think. Even though the laser projects a small, millimetre sized dot at close range, at longer distances – as was the case with the Rescue Helicopter – the beam can be many inches across.

‘When the beam hits the windscreen of a cockpit, imperfections in the glass spread the light out even more and pose a serious threat to pilot, crew and patient safety. Given this incident took place under the use of Night Vision Goggles it further exacerbated the light flooding through the aircraft.’

Mr Beavis said he was ‘concerned that such a vital community service has been the target of such a reckless act that had the potential of catastrophic consequences.’

‘This type of activity not only poses a threat to our staff and medical crews, but to any other aviation related activity, be that commercial airlines or recreational aviators.’

A Civil Aviation spokesperson said there are ‘a number of laws pertaining to the use of lasers and people found to be in possession of or using or them illegally face potential prosecution’.

Anyone with any information is asked to report it to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

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