FAA investigating laser pointer strike in Cowley County

August 07, 2018 - 5:15 am

Federal agencies are looking into an intentional laser strike on Kansas Highway Patrol aircraft last week. It happened on the evening of Saturday Aug. 4th, KHP aircraft were assisting ground crews in the pursuit of an escaped inmate from Winfield Correctional Facility. 

As they flew over Cowley County, a laser struck the aircraft. Striking an aircraft with a laser is a federal crime, it can cause headaches, temporary blindness, and even more serious conditions. KSN News spoke with KHP pilot Ryan Tauer who said those dangers are bad enough, even if the potential victim wasn't flying an aircraft at the time.

"We were flying at about 1000 feet above the ground," said Tauer.  "If I lost my sight for a few minutes, the ground comes pretty quick.  We wanna save the lives of those people on the ground and us in the plane."

KHP did pinpoint the location of the house the pointer was coming from. The Federal Aviation Administration is now investigating the incident. The person pointing the laser could face up to $250,000 in penalties, up to five years in prison or both.

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