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Marine Helicopter Target of Lasing Incident on O‘ahu

December 20, 2017, 9:21 AM HST
* Updated December 20, 9:24 AM
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A UH-1Y Huey helicopter aircrew with Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, was involved in a lasing incident while flying routine operations near Marine Corps Training Area Bellows at Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i (MCBH) on Dec. 5, 2017.

The incident was reported to the Honolulu Police Department.

Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are actively investigating this crime.

They, along with MCBH, will work with the HPD during the investigation to ensure the safety of military personnel, the aircraft, and the Waimanalo community.

“The military on Hawai‘i must be a ready team,” said Col. Raul Lianez, the commanding officer for MCBH. “We must be able to train to our full extent in a safe and responsible environment. Lawless acts like shooting flying aircraft with harmful lasers prevents this and endangers lives in the community.”

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Laser aiming at an aircraft is a federal crime. Violators can be charged with up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, violators are subject to an $11,000 civil penalty.

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Anyone having information about a lasing incident or seeing someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, should call the Honolulu Police Department by dialing 911 or report it by email to the Federal Aviation Administration through [email protected]. Or text NCIS tip information to CRIMES (274637).

Laser illuminations can distract, disorient and debilitate a pilot. An event occurring during a critical phase of flight, such as landing, can lead to catastrophic results if the pilot cannot see instruments to remain on course or maneuver in a heavy traffic environment.

Lasing a member of the aircrew will have adverse physiological effects to include visual pain and loss of depth perception.

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