The police in South Australia arrested a 48-year-old man for possessing a laser device in his hands. He repeatedly pointed the laser at a South Australian police helicopter. In South Australia, lasers greater than 1 milliwatt are classed as offensive weapons.
He was charged with prejudicing the safe operation of an aircraft. In addition, the man was bailed to appear in the Christies Beach Magistrates Court on 21 December.
The incident occurred at around 10:30 pm on Friday near the southern Adelaide suburb of Woodcroft. The Woodcroft man pointed lasers multiple times at the helicopter.
Eventually, officers, onboard the helicopter, were able to find where the origin of the light. Afterward, they directed police on the ground to the location. The officers used thermal and infrared cameras to identify the location.
On 20 November, the South Australia Police (SAPOL) released footage of the PolAir helicopter being lasered on Friday night.
Under South Australia state law, it is illegal to prejudice the safe operation of an aircraft, and penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment can apply.
These types of laser beams distract the pilots. Unlike, commercial aircraft, a police helicopter doesn’t have a co-pilot. When the laser beam hits the windshield of the cockpit, imperfections in and on the glass spread the light more causing temporary flash blindness,