1 Hospitalized After Laser Fills Coast Guard Jet Cockpit With ‘A Blinding Light’

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (CBS Houston/AP) — A Coast Guard jet’s crew was targeted by a laser pointer while preparing to land at Corpus Christi, sending one crew member to the hospital.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Brendan Evans says the incident happened about 9 p.m. Monday as the jet was near Portland.

The executive-style Falcon jet under the command of Lt. Philip Thisse was making an instrument approach to Corpus Christi International Airport. Thisse said the laser hit one crew member directly and “filled the cockpit with a blinding light.” That forced an emergency landing and sent the exposed crew member to the hospital.

“Either malicious or just an irresponsible act, lasing an aircraft poses a significant hazard to the lives of aircrew and impacts our ability to respond to people in distress,” Thiesse told KRIS-TV.

Evans says the crew member was treated for temporary vision impairment and discharged from Bay Area Emergency Room. He says the man is expected to make a full recovery.

The Coast Guard told KRIS-TV that this is the third reported laser incident since June.

“Whether this happened to our Coast Guard aircraft flying on a search and rescue mission, a student Navy pilot just learning to fly, or an air liner carrying a plane full of passengers, the public needs to be aware of the dangers associated with pointing a laser at any aircraft,” Thiesse told the station.

The FBI is investigating.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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