Posted: Nov 6, 2012 4:45 PM by Bart Bedsole - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Dec 28, 2012 12:05 PM
CORPUS CHRSITI - A crewmember aboard a Coast Guard jet was hospitalized Monday with temporary blindness by a laser pointer.
According to a news release from the Coast Guard, the Guardian jet was over the Portland area at the time, preparing to land at Corpus Christi International Airport.
"The laser directly hit one of our crewmembers while conducting an instrument approach and it filled the cockpit with a blinding light," explained Lt. Philip Thisse, the aircraft commander of the Falcon jet that was lased.
"We had to conduct an emergency landing and one of our crew members was sent to the Bay Area Emergency Room. Either malicious or just an irresponsible act, lasing an aircraft poses a significant hazard to the lives of aircrew and impacts our ability to respond to people in distress."
The pilot is expected to fully recover.
Besides risking the lives of aircrew and passengers, lasing aircraft is a federal offense with severe penalties.
The crime is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years imprisonment.
The statute was enacted in response to a growing number of incidents of pilots being distracted or even temporarily blinded by laser beams.
Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi has had three reported lasing incidents since June.
According to Lt. Vince Gomes, flight safety officer of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, the Navy has had two local lasing incidents since June as well.
"Whether this happened to our Coast Guard aircraft flying on a search and rescue mission, a student Navy pilot just learning to fly, or an air liner carrying a plane full of passengers, the public needs to be aware of the dangers associated with pointing a laser at any aircraft," says Thisse.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
Look at photos and videos and share them!
| Desktop Weather
Current forecast, hurricane info, and much more!
|KRISTV.COM Mobile Website
Get KRISTV.com on your mobile or PDA!
|KRISTV.COM Mobile Apps
Get our mobile apps on your mobile or PDA!
See the latest winning numbers!
|6 News Team
Read about your favorite KRIS-TV personalities!
|FCC Online Public File
FCC Public File of Records, Reports, and more