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24th Aug 2021

Coast Guard helicopter reports “high intensity” laser attack during rescue operation

Stephen Porzio

The incident has been reported to Gardaí and the Irish Aviation Authority.

Dublin-based Coast Guard helicopter R116 has reported being targeted by a “very high intensity” laser during a rescue operation on Sunday night.

A spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard told JOE the laser incident occurred after the helicopter had been tasked by the Dublin Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to search for a man who was reported to have fallen overboard from a ship on the east coast.

The search incident was conducted together with the Wicklow RNLI all-weather lifeboat who located the casualty.

The man was then transferred by helicopter into the care of the HSE.

“On 22 August, the Dublin-based Coast Guard Helicopter R116 reported a laser attack shortly after departure from and during return to Dublin Airport,” the Irish Coast Guard spokesperson said.

“The laser incident has been reported to the IAA and An Garda Síochána. The helicopter crew described the light as a very high intensity green laser.”

In a statement to JOE about the incident, a Garda spokesperson said: “Gardaí did receive report of an incident whereby lasers were allegedly pointed at an aircraft flying from Dublin to Wicklow on the evening of 22 August 2021 at approximately 10.30pm.”

Gardaí said the laser reportedly originated from the north Dublin area.

“A search was conducted by Gardaí who were unable to locate the source of the laser,” the spokesperson said.

Under certain conditions, laser light directed at aircraft can be a hazard, causing distraction or temporary flash blindness to a pilot.

Main image via @naval_service/Rolling News

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