MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – A reward for information is offered after lasers were pointed at two Selfridge-based helicopters while they were flying in St. Clair County and Macomb County.
According to officials, a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter was being used for a training exercise in Casco Township on Monday when a laser was shone at it.
Last week, a laser was also pointed at an AS-350 helicopter the U.S. Customs and Border Protection was flying near 23 Mile Road and I-94 in Chesterfield Township.
The crews of both helicopters safely landed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.
A $1,000 reward is being offered for information.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coast Guard Investigative Service’s CGIS TIPS app, available free on Apple’s app store and Google Play. Tips can also be left directly at https://www.p3tips.com/878.
Officials are also seeking information about a laser that was pointed at a Coast Guard helicopter in Chesterfield Township on March 17.
Lasers pose a danger to pilots, who can be blinded by the lights. They could also suffer permanent eye damage.
Officials noted that if a Coast Guard helicopter is on a rescue mission and a member of the aircrew is compromised by lasers, the mission must be aborted. This puts the people the crew was attempting to rescue at risk.
“I’m not sure everyone in the general public fully appreciates how dangerous a laser incident can be to a flight crew,” said Capt. Jared King, commanding officer of the Coast Guard’s Air Station Detroit. “Not only can it prevent us from being able to respond to a mariner in distress, but it could prevent the aircrew from safely being able to land the aircraft. While it may seem trivial to someone on the ground, it could result in a very tragic outcome.”
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Anyone who witnesses someone pointing a laser at an aircraft is asked to call 911.