YUMA, Ariz. – Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma has reported an increase of people pointing lasers at aircraft.
A laser is considered a high-powered ultra-focused light. The high light can cause temporary and even permanent blindness to person according to experts.
Captain Jose Negrete of MCAS Yuma says, “We will be having several aircraft that will be flying pretty much throughout the day and night conducting WTI operations, with that you have an increase in potential for accidents especially if you have someone in our community pointing lasers at our pilots.”
Lieutenant Jacqueline Miller, a Naval Aerospace Physiologist, says lasers can dramatically affect a pilot’s vision. “The problem with it is that especially if they are flying at night just like flipping on a light inside your house just after you got used to it being dark in your house it will cause you to be intensively blinded.”
Miller adds that Yuma County’s mountain range could add an extra element of danger, “It could greatly affect the population because he could lose control of the aircraft or say Telegraph Pass because he could not see the actual mountain itself.”
Negrete adds that anyone caught pointing lasers at aircraft could potentially face some serious federal charges.
“It’s a federal crime and people can be proceeded for it and anytime one of these incidents happens we do report it to the FAA, the Department of Homeland Security as well as the local authorities,” Negrete said.
If you see anyone pointing lasers at military or commercial aircraft you are encouraged to contact MCAS Yuma at (928) 269-2204 Ext.2205 or contact the local authorities.