AirMed helicopter targeted in ‘laser strikes’, crew member temporarily blinded in Sugar House area incident

File Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 24, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A crew member aboard a University of Utah AirMed helicopter was temporarily blinded when someone pointed a laser at the aircraft as it flew over the Sugar House area.

The recent ‘laser strike’ was one of two such incidents involving the same helicopter, the same crew, and during the same shift.

“During the first of these incidents, the laser hit a medical crew member in the eye. As a result of the laser, this crew member sustained a period of temporary blindness in one eye,” according to a U Health press release.

“After the flight, the crew member was admitted to the ER, where they were released for full duty after being evaluated. However, they did have blurred vision on the periphery of the affected eye for the next week.”

Later that night the same chopper crew reported a second incident. “All members looked away from the laser, but they did report the laser was distracting,” the U Health statement said.

“Fortunately, no injuries were reported to patients during either of these flights, but these laser pointers are extremely dangerous to both AirMed staff and passengers.”

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal offense. Under U.S. Code 18, Section 39A,
“Whoever knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here