'Shocking behaviour': Arrest after laser pointed at helicopter

Due to a potential blinding of pilots laser attacks pose a serious threat to aviation safety and...
Due to a potential blinding of pilots laser attacks pose a serious threat to aviation safety and pilot health. Photo: Getty Images
A man has been arrested after a laser was pointed at an Otago Rescue Helicopter last month.

Gore Police said they arrested a 33-year-old man yesterday in relation to the laser strikes, which happened about 7.30pm on May 22.

The man appeared in Gore District Court today charged with endangering transport.

Police said the pilot and crew members on board the aircraft at the time were uninjured but justifiably angry about the incident.

Detective Leigh Waddell, of Gore Police, said deliberately shining a laser at any aircraft could cause the pilot to become disoriented and temporarily blinded which in turn could cause them to lose control of the aircraft.

"I think the majority of the public would agree that deliberately endangering an aircraft, which has the sole purpose of saving lives is absolutely shocking behaviour. 

"Thankfully on this occasion there were no patients on board at the time."

Police would still like to speak to anybody who witnessed the incident or the subsequent fleeing driver incident around Gore.

Endangering transport carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

Anyone with information was asked to contact Det Waddell at the Gore Police Station on 03 203 9300.

Anonymous information can be provided by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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