Laser causes problems for plane

Police are hunting a person who beamed a laser at a small plane as it came into land at Hamilton Airport last night, saying the incident could have ended in tragedy.

The pilot made an emergency call to the northern police communications centre about 8.35pm while trying to land at the city's airport, Senior Sergeant Kevin Anderson said.

"The pilot said the green laser appeared to come from the south end of either Victoria or Anglesea streets and the aircraft had been painted by the laser a number of times on its approach."

The stakes were high given that distracting a pilot could have tragic circumstances.

Mr Anderson said the eye would interpret a green laser light as being up to 30 times brighter than a red laser of the same power and exposure to the laser beam could cause momentary flash blindness.

He said it wasn't the first time lasers had caused problems around Hamilton.

Last December, a pilot reported being distracted by a green laser as she flew over Hamilton's eastern suburbs and earlier in the same week motorists reported a similar laser being directed at drivers near Mill Street.

Mr Anderson said green lasers had a maximum power rating of 5 milliwatts and were deemed to be more hazardous than red laser pointers commonly found in classrooms and conferences.

The penalty for interfering with an aircraft in flight by using a laser is a maximum of 12 months imprisonment or a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police.




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