MISSISSAUGA, Aug. 8, 2016 /CNW/ - Ornge, Ontario's provider of air ambulance and related services, reports two aircraft were struck by lasers this past weekend; one in the Greater Toronto Area and the other in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In the early morning of August 8, a Toronto based Ornge rotor wing aircraft was performing a patient transport from Barrie to a Toronto area trauma centre when the crew reported being struck by a green laser. Ornge contacted South Simcoe Police to report the occurrence for investigation. The flight and transport were completed without incident. An Ornge pilot sustained a suspected eye injury as a result, sought medical attention and was unable to complete the remainder of the scheduled shift, leaving one of Toronto's two air ambulances out of service.
In the early morning of August 7, a Kenora based Ornge rotor wing aircraft performing a patient transport from Pikangikum, Ontario to a facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba reported being struck by a green laser. The strike lasted approximately two minutes. Air Traffic Control for the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport was notified. There were no injuries to Ornge crew or patients.
"Pointing an illuminated laser at an aircraft is extremely dangerous," says Peter Cunnington, Director of Flight Operations, Rotor Wing at Ornge. "Not only is it a criminal offense, lasers put the health and safety of pilots, paramedics and patients on board our aircraft at risk."
Pointing lasers at aircraft can:
- Distract pilots
- Cause temporary or permanent blindness
- Create a glare in the cockpit affecting pilot vision
- Cause further injury to Ornge patients
- Distract or injure Ornge paramedics
Under the Aeronautics Act, if an individual is convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft, they could face up to:
- $100,000 in fines
- 5 years in prison
- Or both
Ornge encourages everyone to report anyone shining a laser towards aircraft to their local police.
Ornge, a not-for-profit organization, co-ordinates all aspects of Ontario's air ambulance system, the critical care land transport program, paediatric transport program and the authorization of air and land ambulance transfers between hospitals. Ornge performs more than 18,000 patient related transports in Ontario each year.
For further information: Ornge Media Relations, 416-531-7577, 1-888-229-8115, firstname.lastname@example.org