Vernon man arrested for lasering aircraft | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon man arrested for lasering aircraft

Image Credit: PEXELS
September 10, 2021 - 3:16 PM

A 39-year-old Vernon man has been arrested and is being held in custody after allegedly firing a laser at several aircraft then resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP were notified by Nav Canada at about 11:15 p.m. yesterday, Sept. 9, that several aircraft flying over Vernon were targeted.

Police officers headed for Becker Park in Vernon where the beams seemed to originate.

“Shortly before midnight, a group of people searching for the origin of the laser encountered a person in Becker Park believed to be responsible for pointing the laser at the aircraft,” an RCMP news release states. “Once discovered, the suspect left the area and the witnesses, from a safe distance, were able to point nearby officers in the direction of the suspect.

“Police intercepted the fleeing suspect and as the arrest was taking place, the man allegedly assaulted the arresting officer. The suspect refused to comply with police and physically resisted the arrest until additional officers arrived safely took the man into custody.”

Laser beams fired at aircraft can be very dangerous.

“I don’t think people realize the danger it causes to the environment of the cockpit,” Kelowna Airport manager Sam Samaddar told in August after a flight was hit with a laser coming into the Kelowna airport from Vancouver.

“It creates a very disorientating environment for the pilot because they’re trying to follow the guidance of their instruments and everything else,” he added. “As soon as this thing hits into the cockpit it’s like a bright light coming into the cockpit. It destroys their night vision in the cockpit environment.”

If struck in the eye, a pilot could be permanently blinded, he said.

READ MORE: Another passenger aircraft landing in Kelowna hit by laser

A Kelowna Airport spokesperson told that a WestJet flight approaching from Calgary was hit by a laser last night but didn’t know if the incidents were connected.

Someone convicted of pointing a laser into an aircraft cockpit in Canada could face up to five years in prison and face fines up to $100,000.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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