Coast Guard helicopter forced to make emergency landing after being shined with laser

Northeast Atlantic Coast Guard NewsBOSTON — A Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew conducted an emergency landing at Air Station Cape Cod Sept. 21, 2012 due to a hand-held laser being shined directly at the helicopter.

The pilot was conducting flight operations on an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter and witnessed a green laser being shined into the cabin. The laser appeared to be coming from a residential neighborhood and was shined through the pilot’s windshield. The crewmembers were not injured and landed safely.

“These types of incidents are extremely dangerous to the safety of the aircrew,” said Lt. Daniel Cloonan, a pilot at Air Station Cape Cod. “This can result in serious injury or death to the aircrews and the prevention of rescue to those in distress.”

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod maintains round the clock readiness of both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft for search and rescue in an area spanning from Trenton, NJ to the Canadian border. Every day, multiple training flights are accomplished in order to maintain readiness. Incidents such as these interrupt crucial training and can prevent life saving operations. Shining any laser at an aircraft is a federal offense under 14 CFR 19.11. Several people have been convicted under this and similar state laws. These convictions have resulted in prison terms as long as five years, fines of up to $11,000, and five years probation.

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