Investigation started into laser-dazzling of Latvian army helicopter

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The National Armed Forces (NAF), in cooperation with other institutions, are investigating an incident in which  helicopter pilots were blinded by what is suspected to be a laser device, reported Latvian Radio February 24.

Military helicopters are often used to help in civilian situations, transporting seriously ill patients quickly to hospital. On Friday and Saturday, while performing these tasks, an NAF helicopter's pilots were temporarily blinded by what was described as a bright green laser beam emanating from somewhere in Sunākste parish in Jaunjelgava district.

Such acts are a serious offense, as flight safety is at stake, defense chief Lieutenant General Leonids Kalniņš told Latvian Radio.

"From this type of laser equipment pilots can be blinded are blinded, and an accident can occur, an emergency landing at best, in the worst case a helicopter can hit an obstacle, such as power lines or high masts," said Kalniņš, condemning the act as irresponsible "hooliganism" that puts lives at risk and promising that everything possible would be done to track down the culprits.

The investigation also takes place in cooperation with the local authority.

Pilots around the world have reported problems with lasers being directed into their cockpits, particularly during take-off and landing at airports. The video below shows an incident with a police helicopter in the UK in 2014.


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