Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pilot flying near Halifax dazed by laser aimed at cockpit

Halifax Regional Police are searching for a suspect in what they're describing as a very dangerous incident.

On Tuesday night, someone shone a laser into the cockpit of a small aircraft flying just west of Halifax, momentarily dazing the pilot. He was flying his single-engine aircraft at about 915 metres and was able to safely land and alert police.

"Officers on the ground immediately responded to the area that the laser was thought to have come from but unfortunately they were unable to locate any suspects," Const. Dianne Penfound said.

Since Halifax police took over policing and security at Halifax's Stanfield International Airport 18 months ago, there have been four incidents of lasers being aimed at aircraft. RCMP, who were previously in charge of airport security, report three incidents from 2013 to March 2016.

"I don't know what the motive is behind the people who are doing this but the potential for blinding a pilot and then potentially losing control and crashing is immense, so we would ask people to absolutely stop doing this," Penfound said.

So far, there have been no arrests. But a conviction under the Aeronautics Act carries a potential fine of $100,000, five years in prison or both.

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