Coast Guard copter hit by laser flash

Image: Laser flash
Laser strikes on pilots have risen dramatically. (Coast Guard photo by Stephen Lehmann)

The U.S. Coast Guard says it had to cut a helicopter training mission short on Monday night after the airborne crew was targeted by someone with a laser near Port Angeles, Wash.

The laser was directed at the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter at around 6:30 p.m., forcing the crew to abort the flight and return to Air Station Port Angeles. “No injuries were reported, but all crew members are grounded until they are cleared by medical personnel, as laser strikes can cause permanent eye damage,” the Coast Guard said today in a statement.

The Coast Guard said it was working with local law-enforcement officials to investigate the incident.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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