PEI

Search and rescue aircraft hit by laser

A search and rescue aircraft conducting exercises near Fernwood, on P.E.I.'s South Shore, was hit by a laser on Saturday, RCMP say.

2 incidents on P.E.I. over the weekend

A search and rescue aircraft was targeted by a laser on Saturday. (Transport Canada)

A search and rescue aircraft conducting exercises near Fernwood, on P.E.I.'s South Shore, was hit by a laser beam early Saturday morning, RCMP say.

RCMP received the report from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Use some common sense and don't point laser lights at aircraft, it's against the law.— RCMP Sgt. Darrell Gill

"The crew from 413 Squadron was out on a legitimate call in the region," explained Sara Keddy, 14 Wing Greenwood Public Affairs Officer, when they decided to take the Hercules aircraft to Summerside to do some night training.

"As they were approaching the Summerside Airport, the left-side pilot was lased and several others in the aircraft who were also looking out the same side of the aircraft," she said.

In a news release, RCMP said the green laser was directed at the aircraft for 15 to 20 minutes.

The crew decided not to land in Summerside but instead immediately returned to Greenwood, where the next morning they were checked for eye damage — everyone is fine, Keddy said.

"East Prince RCMP investigated the incident and we, at the time, did not find who was doing that. But the investigation is continuing," said Sgt. Darrell Gill with P.E.I.'s Prince District RCMP.

'Very rare'

It was the first of two reported incidents over the weekend. On Sunday night, a commercial aircraft coming in for a landing at Charlottetown Airport was targeted as it flew over Brackley Beach, P.E.I. RCMP say a witness has now come forward, saying he saw a child pointing a laser at two planes.

Such incidents are "very rare" Gill noted.

RCMP are asking anyone with information on these incidents to call RCMP at 902-436-9300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal offence, punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and/or five years in prison.

"Use some common sense and don't point laser lights at aircraft, it's against the law," said Gill.

With files from Katerina Georgieva

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