A 31-year-old Markham man faces several charges after police helicopter Air2 carrying a pilot and tactical flight officer was struck with a bright laser light while helping officers on the ground with a suspected impaired driver.
According to York Regional Police, the suspect was standing in a backyard on Vickers Road and continually pointing the light at the helicopter while it was above a traffic stop near Brimley Road and Denison Street in Markham on Sunday, Sept. 6 at 12:47 a.m.
The suspect was in possession of a 532nM 5mW cw CLASS IIIa laser pointing pen and was charged with mischief endangering life, endangering security of an aircraft in flight – aeronautics act and obstructing a peace officer.
“YRP reminds the public of the potential harm laser pointers can cause,” Sgt. Andy Pattenden says.
According to Health Canada, a split-second look into a laser pointer can result in a condition called ‘flash blindness,’ which is similar to the effect you get during flash photography, where the image of the flash remains in your eyes for a few seconds and then fades away.
“However, for a pilot in control of an aircraft flying over populated areas, the consequences can be very serious,” Pattenden says. “Those who aim these pointers at aircraft are putting lives in danger, not only in the aircraft but on the ground, as there is a significant potential for harm to the pilot as well as the prospect of a crash.”
A screenshot of a video of the laser strikes and arrest by York Regional Police helicopter Air 2. View the video at https://youtu.be/ClqCcCc2MDY.