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Canada: Teen arrested in Calgary for temporarily blinding police pilot with laser

19-year-old Michael Sanche was arrested on five charges after illuminating a Calgary police helicopter three times on August 1 2013. Police said there is no known motive although alcohol may have been a factor.

Calgary police laser protective anti-laser goggle glasses
A Calgary police officer holds up protective glasses of the type used by air crews to protect from laser pointers and other bright lights

During the incident, the pilot put on protective eyewear specifically designed for laser incidents. The tactical flight officer was said to have “extreme anxiety” and was temporarily flashblinded during the incident. Afterwards he had “spotty blindness and a minor headache.” Police said the Class 3 laser was capable of causing permanent blindness and burning skin.

Both the pilot and the TFO are required to see a doctor before they can resume flying, but police expect them to fully recover.

Sanche was arrested by ground officers after a short foot chase. He faces five charges including assault causing bodily harm, mischief causing danger to life, projection of a directed bright-light source towards an aircraft, and common nuisance endangering life. A court date has been set for August 6 2013.

From Huffpost Alberta, 660News, the Calgary Herald, Sun News Network and CTV News. Thanks to L. Michael Roberts, and Larry McNish from the Calgary Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for bringing this to our attention.