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Arrest made in relation to laser use on rescue helicopter

Gore Police yesterday arrested a 33-year-old man in relation to laser strikes on the Otago Rescue Helicopter at about 7:30pm on 22 May.

The man appeared in Gore District Court today, 12 June, charged with endangering transport.

Endangering transport is a serious offence which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

The pilot and crew members on board the aircraft at the time were uninjured but justifiably angry about the incident.

Deliberately shining a laser at any aircraft can cause the pilot to become disoriented and temporarily blinded which in turn could cause them to lose control of the aircraft.

“I think the majority of the public would agree that deliberately endangering an aircraft, which has the sole purpose of saving lives is absolutely shocking behaviour,” says Detective Leigh Waddell of Gore Police.

“Thankfully on this occasion there were no patients on board at the time.”

Police would still like to speak to anybody who witnessed the incident or the subsequent fleeing driver incident around Gore.

Please contact Detective Leigh Waddell at the Gore Police Station on 03 203 9300.

Anonymous information can be provided by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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