Laser attacks have long been a nuisance for air ambulance services around the world. Without knowing the profound dangers involved in flashing laser lights at aircraft, people continue to indulge in this behavior. There are many instances where medical flights have been grounded due to the blinding effect that laser lights have on pilots. Here is another such example.
An Ottawa-based air ambulance was struck by lasers twice when transporting a patient to the hospital last week, officials say. The Ornge helicopter was leaving a scene in Alfred, just east of Ottawa, on Oct. 25 when a blue laser was directed its way. The incident was caught on video. That was the first of two lasers to be shone at the pilot of the aircraft.
What Actually Transpired?
“While descending and approaching an Ottawa area hospital with the same patient, the aircraft was struck a second time by a green laser on the pilot side of the helicopter,” Ornge said in a news release. That laser originated from the east side of the Experimental Farm, near the Ottawa Hospital Civic campus.
Air Ambulance Service Will Take Action
Ornge filed reports with the OPP, Ottawa police, and Transport Canada about the two incidents. Anyone who witnessed the incidents is encouraged to contact police, Transport Canada or Crime Stoppers. Pointing lasers at aircraft can distract pilots, cause temporary or permanent blindness, create glare in the cockpit, further injure patients and distract or injure paramedics on board, Ornge said. People convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft can face up to $100,000 in fines and five years in prison.
“Arrivals and departures are critical phases of flight for the flight crew and require complete focus,” the Ornge news release said. “Any distractions or injuries put the crew, patients, and aircraft at risk.” The local community has been requested to provide information about the miscreants to the local police or Transport Canada so that they can be held accountable for their actions.