"Promoting the science of aerospace medicine"

10th of August 2012

Green laser forces Coast Guard helicopter to land

GARDEN CITY BEACH, S.C.(AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard says it had to abandon another air search because of green lasers along the South Carolina coast.

Officials say a Charleston-based helicopter crew had just begun searching near Garden City Beach at around 1:45 a.m. Wednesday when they were temporarily blinded and forced to land. One crewmember was hit in the eye and couldn't fly again until Wednesday afternoon.

Officials said this marked the third time in three weeks a laser has hindered Coast Guard searches in the Grand Strand. The Coast guard has warned local governments they may have to limit search activities unless they can stop the problem. 

Green lasers can temporarily blind pilots, especially when they're wearing night vision goggles. Shooting a laser at an aircraft carries up to five years in prison.