Saturday 1 November 2014

Rescue helicopter searching for family targeted by laser

Pat Flynn

Published 27/08/2014 | 02:30

Gardai are searching for a gang that shone a laser at the Coastguard helicopter on Monday night
Gardai are searching for a gang that shone a laser at the Coastguard helicopter on Monday night

The crew of an Irish Coast Guard helicopter was targeted by a potentially blinding green laser as they searched for a missing family on Monday night.

The helicopter had been operating in the Cratloe and Woodcock Hill areas of Co Clare when the laser was aimed at the cockpit several times. The Shannon-based crew had been searching for a family of five holidaymakers who had become disorientated in the woods and were unable to find their way out of the popular walking trail.

Rescue 1-1-5 had been using its powerful search light and infra-red heat-seeking camera to try and locate the family while members of the Killaloe unit of the Irish Coast Guard carried out ground searches.

While the crew hovered over the area, they were targeted several times by a green laser and reported the incident to air traffic control.

The crew told controllers that the laser was pointed directly at them for a period of two minutes on one occasion. The pilot described the laser as "pretty massive" and appeared to be coming from the Cratloe area.

Air traffic controllers reported the matter to gardai.

Meanwhile, the father of the family of five who were rescued by the Coast Guard helicopter has admitted it was "foolish" to go off the public path.

The relieved father thanked the emergency services.

Irish Independent

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