Wellington Police investigate laser strikes against small aircraft

Wellington Police are investigating after a two-seater aircraft was targeted by two laser strikes earlier this week.

The incident was reported to police at 10.15pm on Tuesday 25 February.

The aircraft, with a pilot and instructor on board, was doing circuits within Wellington Airport-controlled airspace when it was struck twice within five minutes by a green laser.

The airport control tower was able to advise police that the laser was coming from a location in the Tiotio Road/Pinelands Avenue/Fettes Crescent area.

Police units deployed to that area but were unable to locate the person/s responsible.

“Laser strikes against aircraft can have incredibly serious – and potentially fatal – consequences,” says Inspector Wade Jennings, Prevention Manager.

“Deliberately shining a laser at any aircraft can temporarily blind the pilot and disorient them, potentially leading to them losing control of the aircraft.”

“Sadly, this was the second night in a row that a small aircraft had been targeted by laser strikes in the area of Wellington Airport, with another incident occurring on Monday 24 February at around 10.45pm.”

“Fortunately, in both instances the aircraft were able to land safely following the laser strikes, but this could have turned out very differently.”

Police would like to hear from anyone who could assist our enquiries into these laser strikes. If you can help, please call 105.

The incidents have also been referred to the Civil Aviation Authority.

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