Aircraft Crews Lasered As They Land at Barbers Point

HONOLULU – Two Coast Guard flight crews from the Barbers Point air station in the past month have reported being lasered by a green laser from an unknown source as the planes were landing at John Rodgers Field in Kalaeloa-Barbers Point. Both aircrews were immediately evaluated at Tripler Army Medical Center and found to have no injuries or complications.

Both incidents occurred as the aircraft were conducting instrument approaches at John Rodgers Field. In both cases the crews were on final approach to the runway in a very vulnerable position. “Landing is a precarious operation. The crew is completely focused and procedures need to be exact,” said Cmdr. Chris Moss, the operations officer at Air Station Barbers Point. “To be distracted by the laser is dangerous in itself, but the eye damage from the laser can be instantaneous and permanent.”

The green laser has the capability of instantly blinding a person in less than a quarter-second. Fortunately all 13 crewmembers from the two airplanes were not affected by the laser.

John Rodgers Field lies on the approach path for Honolulu International Airport. The suspected laser being used in these incidents has a range of 9,000 feet. That would be well within the flight path of a jumbo airliner on final approach to International.

“I don’t know how someone could think this is fun,” said Moss. “We’re here to save lives and protect Hawaii from terrorists. Why would anyone want to make us crash a plane or hurt our crews? Our own backyard is not where I would expect to find a terrorist.”

It is a federal offense to interfere with anyone engaged in the operation of an aircraft. Lasing a commercial airliner is punishable under the Patriot Act which can carry fines in excess of $500,000 and 20 years in jail. Persons with information are encouraged to call the Coast Guard Investigative Service at 541-2301. A $1,000 reward is offered for information that leads to identifying a suspect in this investigation.

The Coast Guard is a member of the Department of Homeland Security and routinely conducts maritime homeland security missions. The Coast Guard is also the lead agency for off-shore, maritime search and rescue.

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2 Comments

  1. CDR Brian Kleven says:

    I was stationed at Barbers Point in 1983. I am trying to fing my old medical records. What happen to the clinic that was on the base? Did it move or were the records sent to Tripler? Thanks

  2. John says:

    CDR,

    Sorry but I have no idea. Here’s a couple places you could check with:
    Personnel Support Center Customer Care” or
    Personnel Support Center Retiree & Annuitant Services.