Pointing a laser at any aircraft is extremely dangerous and can result in a prison sentence. Photo / File
A man will appear in court after pointing a laser at the Police Eagle Helicopter in a dangerous attempt to interfere with its operation.
Senior Sergeant Garry Larsen said the crew of the Eagle Helicopter was flying over Māngere at 12.20am on Tuesday when they were repeatedly targeted by a laser from the ground.
“Our onboard technology was able to clearly capture the alleged offender in the act, and instantly identified the offender’s address,” Larsen said.
“Police ground units soon arrived and took one 49-year-old male into custody.”
The man was due to appear in the Manukau District Court on Wednesday charged with endangering transport.
“The lasering of any aircraft in flight could cause serious harm to the crew. The Police Eagle helicopter is out there working hard for the protection and safety of all Kiwis,” Larsen said.
“We thoroughly investigate every single lasering incident and people are held to account for this type of offending,
“This behaviour is simply idiotic and is putting lives at risk.”
Laser strikes are extremely dangerous as they can illuminate the whole cockpit and make seeing any instruments almost impossible.
It can take hours for a pilot’s eyesight to return to normal after a laser strike.
The penalty for possession of a high-power laser pointer in a public space, without reasonable excuse, is three months’ imprisonment and a $2000 fine, and the maximum penalty for endangering transport is 14 years imprisonment.
So far in 2023 the CAA has reported 102 laser strikes at airports across New Zealand.
That was compared to 112 incidents in 2022, and 111 in 2021.