Laser Lights Threaten Coast Guard Pilots

Coast Guard Commander Chris Moss
Coast Guard Commander Chris Moss

KAPOLEI (KHNL) - Bright green lasers are used for star gazing and could help rescuers find you if you were lost outdoors.

But someone is using the laser illegally, pointing it into the cockpit of these Coast Guard C-130 aircraft. Pilots pinpoint the laser coming from this Kapolei neighborhood under the aircraft flight path.

Coast Guard Commander Chris Moss explains the danger, "Being startled by a bright light just before you are going to land the aircraft can be troublesome and we don't want the pilots to have any kind of problem with their vision as they are landing a plane."

The lasers are harmful. "We are concerned the pilot's going to suffer long term damage to their eyes, " says Moss.

And the pilots worry the blinding lights will interfere with landing. Moss warns, "If we have a problem landing our aircraft we certainly wouldn't want to crash in a residential neighborhood."

From the cockpit Reporter Beth HIllyer, "Once the pilots were blinded by the laser they had to stand down and seek medical attention."

Moss adds, "If there had been an emergency we would not have been able to respond."

Commercial jets follow the same approach path as the military pilots. The FAA confirms a third aircraft has been targeted in recent weeks.

Pointing a laser at a commercial aircraft is considered a violation of the Patriot Act.

If you have information on this crime, call 541-2301. The Coast Guard is offering a one thousand dollar reward for information that can identify a suspect.