Investigation underway after laser disrupts Marine aircraft training near Waimanalo

Local News

Authorities are investigating after a laser was pointed at a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter off East Oahu.

It happened on Dec. 5 as a UH-1Y Huey helicopter aircrew with Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing conducted routine operations near Marine Corps Training Area Bellows.

The incident has been reported to the Honolulu Police Department, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are actively investigating.

“The military on Hawaii must be a ready team. We must be able to train to our full extent, in a safe and responsible environment,” said Col. Raul Lianez, Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s commanding officer. “Lawless acts like shooting flying aircraft with harmful lasers prevents this and endangers lives in the community.”

Laser aiming at an aircraft is a federal crime. Violators can be charged with up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and face an $11,000 civil penalty.

If you have information about a lasing incident or see someone pointing a laser at an aircraft, call the Honolulu Police Department or report it by email to the Federal Aviation Administration through laserreports@faa.gov. You may also text NCIS and your tip information to CRIMES (274637).

Laser illuminations can distract, disorient and debilitate a pilot.

An event occurring during a critical phase of flight, such as landing, can lead to catastrophic results if the pilot cannot see instruments to remain on course or maneuver in a heavy traffic environment.

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