US Coastguard HH-65C Dolphin Helicopter

UK Ministry of Defefnce

The US Coast Guard scrubbed two helicopter training missions in Michigan after the pilot and crew were hit with green laser beams, the agency said Wednesday. While no arrests have been made, flight rules require missions to be aborted if a crew member’s vision is compromised, the Coast Guard said.

“Laser pointers can cause the pilot to see a glare, afterimage, have flash blindness, or can even cause temporary loss of night vision. A delay during a search could also result in the death of the person or people the Coast Guard is attempting to save,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. “Additionally, aircrew members are taken off flight duty for a minimum of 24 hours and must have their eyes dilated and be cleared by a doctor before flying again. This temporary loss of flight crews has the potential to significantly affect the unit’s abilities to conduct search and rescue, training, and homeland security missions.”
The Coast Guard said the two incidents occurred on October 17 and October 20 on a US Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin Helicopter during training missions from the US Coast Guard Air Station Detroit. The Coast Guard said that “during both incidents the lasers appeared to track the helicopters as they moved.” The agency said it was “requesting help from the public” to catch the culprit or culprits.
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