1 Dec 2016

Man jailed for shining laser at planes

5:39 pm on 1 December 2016

The conviction and imprisonment of a Christchurch man who endangered passenger aircraft with a high-powered laser pointer has been welcomed by pilots.

A laser beam

A laser beam Photo: 123rf.com

Tane Hemopo, 39, was sentenced in the Christchurch District Court today to 10 weeks in prison.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary danger to the people on board an aircraft, after pointing the light at a number of planes coming in to land at Christchurch Airport in April.

NZ Air Line Pilots' Association president Tim Robinson said members were thrilled the judiciary was taking the issue seriously.

"Lasers are not toys and pilots and air traffic controllers have been very concerned that it would only be a matter of time before a serious accident would result from such dangerous and irresponsible use.

"I've talked with pilots who have experienced similar laser strikes when trying to land a plane, often with many passengers and crew on board. They describe the confusion, temporary blindness and the resulting headaches as one of the most terrifying thing they've ever gone through," Mr Robinson said.

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