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Coast Guard helicopter hit by laser mid-rescue

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 unable to find their way out.

Rescue 1-1-5 had been using its search light and infra-red heat-seeking camera to try to 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 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.

A Coast Guard spokesman said: "Unfortunately this is not uncommon. We take such incidents extremely seriously but all we can actually do is report them to gardai in the hope that a patrol in the area can locate the culprits."