News / Canada

Laser pointed at OPP helicopter during training exercise in southwestern Ont.

ORILLIA, Ont. — Provincial police say the crew avoided injury when one of their helicopters was struck with a laser while in flight.

They say the incident occurred Monday morning as the helicopter crew was participating in a training exercise with OPP specialty teams in Elgin County in southwestern Ontario.

Officials say the flight crew responded appropriately to avoid the laser strike, preventing any permanent injury or impact to flight operations.

Transport Canada says incidents of lasers being pointed at aircraft are on the rise.

In 2015, there were almost 600 reported incidents in Canada.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft can create glare that distracts or temporarily blinds the pilots, putting passengers, as well as people on the ground, at serious risk.

"Laser attacks on aircraft are a serious and growing concern," OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair said Wednesday in a statement.

Anyone convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft faces a fine of up to $100,000, five years in prison — or both.

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