On July 26, at 4:10 a.m., Sylvan Lake RCMP received a report of a green laser beam pointed at the cockpit of an aircraft as it was in the air near Sylvan Lake.
“The investigation into this incident is ongoing,” said S/Sgt. Jeff McBeth, detachment commander of Sylvan Lake RCMP. “Pointing a laser at an aircraft presents an enormous risk to the crew and passengers of the plane. The Sylvan Lake RCMP will take a zero tolerance approach towards these cases.”
According to NAV Canada, “The danger that laser pointers present to the safe operation of an aircraft is serious. What may appear to be a relatively harmless device can actually be a deadly weapon if used irresponsibly. A laser directed at an aircraft can fill a cockpit with blinding light and puts the pilot, crew, passengers, and people on the ground at risk.”
Transport Canada states, “A laser is not a toy. Aiming a laser at an aircraft can cause a major accident by: distracting the pilot, creating glare that affects the pilot’s vision, and temporarily blinding the pilot.”
Intentionally interfering with the performance of flight crew to perform their duties is a criminal offence. An example of such an offence would be intentionally shining a laser at an aircraft, which distracts a pilot and interferes with their ability to safely land the aircraft. Offenders could be charged under the Aeronautics Act. Anyone who is convicted of intentionally interfering with an aircraft by using a laser, could face a fine and/or a combination of prison time up to a maximum of: $100,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a serious offence and an extremely dangerous act,” said S/Sgt. McBeth. “We are asking members of the public who witness or know of any such incident to report it to the police immediately.”
Sylvan Lake RCMP are asking the public’s assistance for any information in relation to this incident, or identifying those responsible.
Please contact Sylvan Lake RCMP at 403-858-7200 or your local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.