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Regina police investigating third laser strike at aircraft

Aug. 19, 2014, Regina - For the third time this year, the Regina Police Service responded to a report of a laser being directed at aircraft.


August 19, 2014
By Kerry Benjoe The Leader-Post

Jim Hunter, CEO of the Regina International Airport Authority, said such incidents are no laughing matter.

 

“It’s
a huge issue with anyone involved in the aviation business,” said
Hunter. “This is a dangerous practice and a potentially catastrophic
practice. Putting a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft particularly
at night can actually permanently injure a pilot depending on where it
hits in a cockpit.”

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According to police, on Sunday at
approximately 11:25 p.m. a call was received to locate the source of a
laser beam that had been directed at a landing aircraft at the Regina
airport.

 

Police spotted the light source and located five
youths — three males and two females — on a building roof on the 4000
block of Robinson Street. One of the males was carrying a laser, which
was confiscated. There were no charges, however police say the matter is
ongoing.

 

Approximately two hours later at 2:28 a.m., police
were dispatched to a second incident. According to police, a laser
coming from the north was pointed at a plane over the south area of
Regina.

Police say the incidents are unrelated. Canine members were used but were unable to locate any suspects.

 

The
police are reminding the public that it is a federal offence under the
Aeronautics Act to aim a directed bright light source into the cockpit
of an aircraft in flight because it creates a potential threat to
aviation safety.

 

It is illegal to point a laser into the
cockpit of an aircraft in flight and, if convicted, the offender could
face a fine of $100,000 or up to five years in prison or both.

 

Hunter said in addition to the two recent incidents, another incident occurred on July 30.

 

In
2013, there were fewer than 12 laser incidents reported and in
comparison there were five incidents in 2012 and only one in 2011.

 

Hunter encourages the public to report such incidents directly to the police at 306-777-6500.

 

He is not sure what type of laser was used, but said lasers are powerful and have the potential to cause damage.

Last
year, the airport and the police issued a joint statement outlining the
seriousness of the crime for both the aircraft and those committing the
crime.

“It looks like probably now that we had a (few) we will have
to undertake something again to remind the public that this is not just a
joke or a prank,” said Hunter. “This is serious and we sure would like
(it) to stop.”