RCMP and Transport Canada investigating reports of interference from a laser pointed at aircraft over the Cowichan Valley. (File photo)

Cowichan RCMP looking for someone who shone laser at aircraft

Several instances reported over Cowichan Valley

Officers at the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment are working with Transport Canada to investigate interference from a laser pointed at an aircraft over the Cowichan Valley on July 28.

On that day, an air traffic controller reported that a pilot was lasered while flying at night at around 5,000 feet over the North Cowichan area.

The laser strike lasted approximately 20 seconds and appeared to be from a stationary location.

Officers from North Cowichan/Duncan did patrols of the zone where the beam apparently came from, but due to the large area and the lack of specific coordinates where the beam originated, were unable to establish who was involved.

This is an ongoing investigation and police continue to seek information.

There have been a number of reported incidents of laser interference on planes in the Cowichan area that were en route to Victoria and Nanaimo on July 26 and July 28 that are under investigation by Transport Canada.


The first incident happened when a Pacific Flying Club Cessna 152, northbound on its way to Nanaimo, “noticed green flashes reflecting off of the underside of its wings that lasted 10 seconds.”

The second, third and fourth reports came from airplane and helicopter pilots in the same area.

A Cessna pilot en route to Victoria noticed the underside of the plane’s wings “suddenly reflecting a flashing green light” and after confirming it didn’t come from conflicting air traffic, noted that the green laser beam was originating from a residential area in Saltair.

“The laser emitted a constant green beam that was moved around rapidly while aiming at the aircraft,” the report noted.

“The movement resembled the way a person would hold a hand-held laser while pointing it at an object in the distance.”

Soon after the Cessna pilot had made a report to the air traffic controller, a helicopter reported a “laser strike” around Chemainus and another pilot from the Pacific Flying Club reported seeing the laser as well.

Laser strikes on aircraft are a serious concern as they can cause temporary blinding of aircrew, according to RCMP Sgt. Chris Swain.

“Especially at night, laser strikes can lead to a possible loss of control of aircraft, posing a danger to people on the aircraft and the general public, so these incidents need to stop immediately,” he said.

Swain said the RCMP are looking to the public for more details about any incidents of laser interference of aircraft in the area.

He said anyone who has been the subject of a laser pointer while flying is encouraged to call police and provide details about when and where it happened.

People with information about who has been responsible for these occurrences are encouraged to contact the North Cowichan/Duncan RCM detachment.

To remain anonymous, contact Cowichan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

According to Transport Canada, no one can possess a hand-held laser pointer over one milliwatt outside of a private dwelling within a 10-kilometre radius of an airport and certified heliports.

Aiming a laser at an aircraft can cause a major accident by distracting the pilot, creating glare that affects the pilot’s vision, and temporarily blinding the pilot.

More information is available from Transport Canada.

“Lasering any aircraft is considered intentionally interfering with the performance of flight crew to perform their duties, which is a criminal offence,” Swain said.

“It distracts a pilot and can interfere with their ability to safely operate and land the aircraft. Intentionally interfering with an aircraft and its crew in this manner is an offence punishable upon conviction by significant fines, incarceration, or both.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tour de Rock pedals through the Cowichan Valley

Cops for Cancer fundraiser visits local schools

Kerry Park Islanders open regular season this weekend

Intersquad game boosted profile for some players

Crash snarls traffic in Duncan Tuesday evening

The crash appeared to involve at least three vehicles

Fire crews put out blaze in Cowichan Secondary outbuilding

Three halls respond to fire in storage structure

Who’s running in Cowichan?

A list of Cowichan candidates for the upcoming provincial election

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read