On Monday February 13, 2017, at 9:30 p.m., an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) helicopter was participating in a training exercise with OPP specialty teams in the Elgin County area of Southern Ontario when it was struck with a laser while in flight. The flight crew responded appropriately to avoid the laser strike preventing any permanent injury to the crew or impact to flight operations.
“Laser attacks on aircraft are a serious and growing concern. The OPP take these actions very seriously and if the person(s) responsible are identified, they will be held accountable for their actions.” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, Provincial Commander of Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
According to Transport Canada, incidents of lasers pointed at aircraft are rising in Canada. In 2015, there were almost 600 reported incidents in Canada. Lasers are not toys. Pointing a laser at an aircraft can create glare that distracts or temporarily blinds the pilots, putting passengers, as well as people on the ground, at serious risk.
The OPP would like to remind all members of the public that it is a criminal offence to point a laser at an aircraft. Offenders will be charged and could face fines up to $100,000, 5 years in prison – or both. If you see someone endangering an aircraft, call 911 immediately.