A Helijet helicopter was hit by a green laser last week while flying at 4700 ft, according to Oak Bay Police who received the report from Nav Can. The laser came from the area of Cadboro Bay.
“What may seem like a little prank is incredibly serious. If the potential outcome to the pilot and passengers isn’t enough, the suspect(s) may wish to consider the impact a conviction under the Aeronautics Act could have on their own future employment or cross border vacations,” said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft puts the pilot, crew, passengers and people on the ground at serious risk as it can create glare that temporarily blinds the pilot. It is illegal and a criminal offence. Offenders can be charged under the Aeronautics Act and could face up to $100,000 in fines, 5 years in prison, or both.
The incident, which was reported at 6:20 p.m. on Jan. 29, is still under investigation.
In 2016, there were over 500 reported laser incidents in Canada.
“It’s a disturbing statistic – it means the safety of pilots, crew and passengers was put at risk over 500 times last year,” according to Transport Canada’s website.
If you see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, report it immediately to local police.
If you plan on using a laser for astronomical purposes, you must complete a notice of proposal form.