Man charged after shining laser pointer at HAWC2
Published Thursday, August 1, 2013 6:04AM MDT Last Updated Thursday, August 1, 2013 3:05PM MDT
Calgary police have arrested and charged a man after he was caught flashing a laser light at the HAWCS2 police helicopter.
The helicopter was on routine patrol over Dalhousie at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday when someone on the ground blasted the aircraft several times with a green laser.
Police say the pilot continued to circle the area and the chopper was hit a total of three times by the intense beam of light.
Acting Duty Inspector Guy Baker says the laser device was a Class 3, the second most dangerous type of device that emits laser light.
The device posed a serious risk, Baker says. "From the pilot's point of view, it's very serious. One, they can recieve permanent eye damage. Then, it you can appreciate the fact that they are operating an aircraft, if they can't see, it exposed them, the people in the aircraft, and the people on the ground with imminent danger or even loss of life."
The pilot put on protective eyewear and radioed for help but the tactical flight officer in the seat beside her was hit by the laser.
"He was engaged by the laser. At this point the only symptoms he's showing are spotty, blindness in his eye and a minor headache," said Insp. Blair White of the CPS Support Section.
White says the protective eyewear blacks out light and is designed specifically for incidents like this. "It's compete darkness to take out the effects of the laser so it would not be appropriate to wear all the time."
Within minutes, cruisers descended on the area and arrested a 19-year-old male.
Michael Sanche, is charged with assault casuing bodily harm, mischief causing danger to life, common nuisance endangering life, projection of a directed, bright-light source at an aircraft.
Sanche will appear in court on the charges on August 6, 2013.
The pilot and tactical flight officer are required to see the CPS doctor before they can fly again but is expected they will fully recover from the incident.
Calgary Police would like to remind residents never to point any type of laser device at any moving vehicle or aircraft.