May 28, 2020

Charges Laid in Laser Attack


Residents chose the wrong target when they aimed their lasers recently at a helicopter overflying their neighbourhoods. York Regional Police was operating their Air2 helicopter on a patrol over Vaughan just before midnight on May 21 when both the pilot and a tactical flight officer were struck by the laser.

A pilot’s vision is subject to temporary blindness when struck by a laser, which could lead to loss of control of the aircraft. In rare cases, permanent damage can result.

The crew of Air2 was able to maintain control of their aircraft and directed ground forces to the source of the laser, resulting in charges against a 44-year-old man, which include mischief endangering life, endangering the security of an aircraft in flight and unlawfully projecting a bright light into navigable airspace.

The following evening, again just before midnight, the same Eurocopter EC 120B was hit by a laser multiple times while assisting in a break-and-enter investigation over Markham. In this incident, a 52-year-old man faces the same charges.

A third incident involving Air2 occurred over Richmond Hill two days later. Police have yet to identify a suspect.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is extremely dangerous and it is a serious offence. Anyone engaging in this behaviour can expect to face charges,” said the police force in a statement.

A video of the Markham incident can be viewed here.