The Coast Guard is warning the public that pointing handheld lasers at Coast Guard boat and aircrews is dangerous and illegal.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Panama City, Fla., received a report Sunday evening at 6:48 p.m. of a disabled 15-foot jon boat with four people on board, a 50-year-old father and his three children, who had lost communications with his wife on shore. The operator of the boat was attempting to paddle four miles back in to shore towards Lake Powell.
Coast Guard Sector Mobile issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and Station Panama City launched a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew. Upon arrival Station Panama City launched two illumination flares and conducted a search with negative results.
While attempting to conduct the search, the response boatcrew reported multiple laser strikes in the vicinity of the search area, all originating from shore, from at least two different sources.
Two members of the boat crew were struck directly in the eyes from the lasers and had to seek medical attention following the incident.