The Columbus Police Department is searching for a suspect who reportedly on Thursday night (April 6, 2023) flashed a green laser at a LifeNet helicopter as it was on approach to Columbus Municipal Airport.
CPD was dispatched regarding the report from the air crew of a LifeNet helicopter being intentionally flashed with a green laser as it was on approach. The incident was reported to have occurred in the area of 10th Avenue and 23rd Street. The perpetrator of this type of activity would be subject to state and federal law.
“It is a serious matter; it’s dangerous. It can cause injury to people’s eyes,” Columbus Municipal Airport Manager Ross Niedbalski said. “If you’re caught, you’re going to be prosecuted to the fullest offense.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, laser strikes on aircraft remain a serious threat to aviation safety. Intentionally aiming lasers at an aircraft poses a safety threat to pilots and violates federal law. Many high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers.
The FAA works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against people who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. The agency takes enforcement action against people who violate Federal Aviation Regulations by shining lasers at aircraft and can impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. The FAA has imposed civil penalties up to $30,800 against people for multiple laser incidents.
Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact CPD at 402-564-3201.