Laser dangerously pointed at police Eagle helicopter twice on first night in Christchurch

Source: 1News

A police Eagle helicopter operating in Christchurch for the first time last night was targeted by lasers twice.

Canterbury Police said in a Facebook post today the helicopter was targeted by lasers, including during a search for a victim.

"The Eagle crew are working hard to keep the communities of Christchurch safe and it is disappointing that some members of the public have chosen to endanger the lives of those on board," the post said.

The lasering of aircraft is an offence under the Crimes Act and carries a possible sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment.

Deliberately shining a laser at any aircraft can cause the pilot to become disoriented and temporarily blinded, which in turn could cause them to lose control of the aircraft, authorities say.

Police said inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

Also during the first night of the Canterbury Eagle five-week trial in the Wainoni and New Brighton areas, the helicopter was used to assist officers on the ground to locate a person wanted for an assault and another person in mental distress. 

Eagle helicopters are deployed to more than 6000 incidents a year, with more than half involving road policing and road safety, including fleeing driver events.