Laser strike disrupts Marine helicopter operations in Hawaii

A UH-1Y Venom flies over a live-fire range during RIMPAC at the Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, July 15, 2016.


By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 20, 2017

Marine Corps officials said today that someone pointed a laser at a UH-1Y Huey helicopter flying routine operations near Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on Dec. 5.

“The incident has been reported to the Honolulu Police Department. (The) Naval Criminal Investigative Service along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation are actively investigating this crime,” Marine Corps Base Hawaii said in a news release.

Col. Raul Lianez, the commanding officer for the base, said lawless acts like pointing harmful lasers at aircraft endanger lives.

Laser illuminations can distract, disorient and debilitate a pilot and can lead to catastrophic results if the pilot cannot see instruments to remain on course or maneuver, the Marine Corps said.

“The military on Hawaii must be a ready team. We must be able to train to our full extent, in a safe and responsible environment” Lianez said.

Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime. Violators can receive up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the base said.

Anyone having information about a laser incident is asked to call the HPD by dialing 911 or report it by email to the Federal Aviation Administration. NCIS also can be texted with tip information at CRIMES (274637).

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