Chief Flight Nurse Bryan Williams describes an incident which occurred Thursday night where the Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa helicopter was targeted by three lasers from the ground while in flight to pick up a patient. Williams said while the pilot was distracted, no one was injured and the crew continued to its destination.
The pilot was distracted but neither he nor two crew members were injured, according to Chief Flight Nurse Bryan Williams. The incident occurred about 9:30 p.m.
The ’copter had just taken off and was over the north end of downtown Mason City, said Williams, en route to pick up a patient. Contrary to social media reports, there was no patient aboard, he said.
“It is very dangerous,” said Williams. “It has the potential of blinding someone or at the very least distracting the pilot or crew.”
Williams has been with Mercy for 20 years and chief flight nurse for 17. This is the first time in his career an incident like this has occurred, he said.
As per law, a report has been filed with the Federal Aviation Administration and will be turned over to the FBI for investigation because it is a federal offense, said Williams.
Anyone arrested and convicted is subject to a $250,000 fine and 20 years in prison.
Also, said Williams, there is a $10,000 reward for anyone providing information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
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