The Coast Guard is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever pointed a green laser at a Coast Guard helicopter Aug. 17 during a routine training mission in Muskegon, Mich.
Pointing a laser at any aircraft is a federal offense punishable by as much as five years in prison, an $11,000 fine and five years of probation. The Federal Aviation Administration says laser incidents involving aircraft increased 902 percent from 2005 to 2011.
The Coast Guard statement says green lasers are a hazard to flight crews, especially when they are operating at low altitude at night. Boat crews working at night also can be affected.
Click play for a report on the effects lasers can have on pilots.
Click play for the view from the cockpit when a green laser is flashed from the ground.
“We've been very fortunate that the green laser incidents haven't yet resulted in tragedy," Coast Guard Commander Joseph Deer, commanding officer of Air Station Detroit, which staffs the Muskegon air facility, told the Muskegon Chronicle. "But whoever is committing these crimes is endangering the lives of their fellow citizens, as well as the aircrews performing training and rescue missions. We're simply asking the public to help us put a stop to this reckless behavior by reporting it immediately if they see it happening."