Laser pen shone at plane flying over Newport
A LASER pen was shone at a passenger plane flying over Newport.
Abright green light, believed to be coming from Caerleon, was pointed at a commercial aircraft heading for Bristol on Monday night.
The aircraft’s cabin crew alerted Air Traffic Control to the light before South Wales Police were informed.
South and East Wales Air Support Unit attended the Caerleon area, but nothing was seen by the time they had arrived.
Similar incidents have led to prosecutions in the past. In 2011, a Newport man pleaded guilty to recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft after shining a laser at a police helicopter. He was jailed for six months.
A Gwent Police spokesman said the force was called at around 10.35pm on Monday following reports of a green light being aimed at an aircraft coming into land at Bristol Airport.
He said: “The report suggested the laser was emanating fromthe Caerleon area of Newport and the Air Support Unit was dispatched to search the area. The search proved negative as no laser lights were observed.”
A spokeswoman for Bristol Airport said: “The growing number of incidents of this nature at airports across the UK is a concern for all involved in aviation.”
A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority added: “Shining a laser at an aircraft in flight is a serious risk to the safety of passengers and crew, as well as people living close to airports.
“Being dazzled and temporarily blinded by an intense light could potentially lead to flight crewlosing control of the aircraft.
“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is now a specific criminal offence and the police are becoming very good at catching the perpetrators,” he added.
“We strongly urge anyone who observes a laser being used at night in the vicinity of an airport to contact the police immediately.”
Information about the flight’s origin and the airline was not available yesterday afternoon.
Anyone who has any information about this is asked to ring 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting log 522 05/08/13.
ARGUS COMMENT: Not funny – dangerous
IT IS QUITE surprising really the things some people seem to find amusing.
But we presume that those who shine laser beams in the direction of aircraft do it for the very reason that they think it is just a laugh, a bit of daft harmless fun.
It is certainly something we seem to be hearing about more often.
In the past complaints have been made by officers in the Gwent police. In fact two years ago someone was jailed for six months after admitting recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft.
Now though in this latest incident, and in what is a worrying development, we have the pilot of a commercial aircraft claiming that a bright green light was shone directly at the aeroplane as it travelled over Newport on its way to Bristol airport.
Unfortunately what may have been just a bit of a laugh for those responsible, was anything but for the pilot.
Shining a light directly at an aircraft in flight can temporarily blind the pilot. So, far from being harmless it is in fact deadly serious.
The safety of everyone on board the plane plus those living nearby was put at risk.
If the pilot lost control of the aircraft, we dread to think of the consequences.
Pointing lasers at aircraft is now a specific criminal offence and that is for a very good reason.
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