A 19-YEAR-OLD Woollamia man will appear in Nowra Local Court after being charged with shining a laser pointer at a navy helicopter from HMAS Albatross on Thursday night.
It is alleged the man targeted a Seahawk helicopter from 816 Squadron as it was returning to HMAS Albatross after a training flight about 10.30pm.
Police allege the high-powered laser was pointed at the aircraft for around a minute from the car park of the man’s workplace at South Nowra.
The helicopter landed safely, with the four crew members on board treated for slight eye pain.
Police from the Shoalhaven Local Area Command interviewed the pilot and co-pilot, who provided an approximate location of the beam’s origin.
Police searched the area and located the 19-year-old man.
A laser pointer was seized by police and the man was issued with a future court attendance notice and is due to appear in Nowra Local Court on November 19.
Commander of the Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro described the alleged actions as “silly”.
“You shouldn’t shoot lasers at anyone’s eyes, it’s as simple as that,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if you are flying an aircraft, driving a car or riding a bike, you just shouldn’t do it.
“It’s a very silly thing to do.”
Commodore Di Pietro said thankfully air crews did not usually encounter this type of incident in the local area.
“The general message to the community is please think about your actions. Any sort of concentrated light shined at someone’s eyes in not smart,” he said.
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