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B.C. air ambulance targeted by laser over Vancouver Island: Transport Canada

VICTORIA — Transport Canada confirms a British Columbia air ambulance flying over Vancouver Island was deliberately targeted by someone shining a laser from the ground.

VICTORIA — Transport Canada confirms a British Columbia air ambulance flying over Vancouver Island was deliberately targeted by someone shining a laser from the ground.

No one was hurt in the April 18 incident, but a preliminary report released by the agency says the laser strike was "deliberate and ongoing."

The air ambulance was on a night flight from Nanaimo to Victoria General Hospital.

The report says the 1995 Sikorsky helicopter was on its final approach when the pilot observed the green laser.

Helijet International owns and operates the air ambulance involved and the company's vice-president says a police report has been filed.

Rick Hill says viewing a laser has the potential to cause sometimes serious vision problems and laser strikes are extremely dangerous because they could affect the flight crew.

"They are very dangerous of course because if they do incapacitate the crew, which they could, then of course you've got a serious situation," Hill says.

Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a federal offence under Canada's Aeronautics Act.

Transport Canada says a convicted offender could face fines of up to $100,000 and five years in prison.

(The Canadian Press, CTV Vancouver Island)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020

The Canadian Press