The Coast Guard Needs Your Help
Elissa Jarvis, Lead Reporter Saturday, August 11, 2012
Ever seen those tiny green laser pointers that are sold at just about every beachwear store in Myrtle Beach? Did you ever think they could be the cause of your death?
While the laser lights seem harmless, three times in the last three weeks the US Coast Guard has been out doing emergency searches along the Grand Strand coastline only to have to call them off because of people shining green lasers at the helicopters. The green lasers disorient the helicopter pilots and can cause temporary flash blindness or eye damage that put the safety of the emergency crew and the people on the beach in danger. Pilots have compared the green laser lights shining in a cockpit to being like a camera flash in a car at night; it illuminates the entire cockpit and blinds everyone inside and can cause serious eye damage.
For this reason the Coast Guard has instructed all helicopter crews to land immediately after being hit by the laser lights and have to be cleared by a doctor before resuming a mission. This means losing precious time in trying to save a person who is lost at sea. Because of this, any person caught shining a laser light directly at or in the path of an aircraft can face up to five years in prison and an $11,000 fine.
Those laser lights seem like fun little toys and when use properly they are, but parents should think twice about buying them for children. What seems like a harmless prank of shining a light at a helicopter could cost someone their life. Did you know those laser lights could cause so much damage?