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Two Ornge aircraft struck by lasers this past weekend

August 8, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Despite frequent warnings of the dangers of pointing lasers at aircraft vehicles, some people continue to do so, unconcerned about the effects and dangers it causes.

According to a press release sent out by Ornge, the organization responsible for providing air ambulance and related services, lasers struck two aircraft in the past few days.

The first of which occurred early August 8, when a Toronto-based Ornge rotor wing aircraft was in the middle of a patient transport from Barrie to a Toronto area trauma centre. The crew reported being struck by a green laser, and Ornge contacted South Simcoe Police.

Ornge reports the flight and transport were completed without incident, however an Ornge pilot sustained a suspected eye injury as a result of the laser. The pilot sought medical attention and was unable to complete the remainder of his scheduled shift, leaving one of Toronto’s two air ambulances not in service.

On Sunday, a Kenora based Ornge rotor wing aircraft was transporting a patient from Pikangikum, Ontario to a facilitiy in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and also reported being struck by a green laser. The strike lasted approximately two minutes.

Air Traffic Control for the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport was notified. Ornge crew and patients reported no injuries.

“Pointing an illuminated laser at an aircraft is extremely dangerous,” says Peter Cunnington, Director of Flight Operations, Rotor Wing at Ornge. “Not only is it a criminal offense, lasers put the health and safety of pilots, paramedics and patients on board our aircraft at risk.”

Pointing lasers at aircraft can:

  • Distract pilots
  • Cause temporary or permanent blindness
  • Create a glare in the cockpit affecting pilot vision
  • Cause further injury to Ornge patients

Distract or injure Ornge paramedics

Under the Aeronautics Act, an individual convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft can face up to $100,000 in fines, 5 years in prison, or both.

Ornge added in the press release that they encourage everyone to report anyone shining a laser towards aircraft to their local police.

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