Plane returns to London after laser was beamed into cockpit

LONDON -- Virgin Atlantic Airways is working with investigators to identify the source of a laser beam that forced a New York-bound flight to return to London, the airline said Monday.

See Full Article

The crew of flight VS025 decided to return to Heathrow rather than making the trans-Atlantic crossing, the airline said in a statement. Passengers were offered overnight accommodation.

Police said they were contacted Sunday evening and that no arrests have been made.

Lasers can cause a temporary loss of sight that persists even after the light is moved, the British Airline Pilots Association said. They also have the power to blind.

"This is not an isolated incident," said Jim McAuslan, the organization's general secretary. "Aircraft are attacked with lasers at an alarming rate and with lasers with ever-increasing strength."

According to civil aviation authorities in Britain, there were 414 such incidents in the first half of 2015 and some 1,440 in 2014.

The organization wants British authorities to classify lasers as offensive weapons.

John Tyrer, a professor of optical instrumentation at Loughborough University, said it's not just airline pilots who are targets. He has been working with police officers facing riots in Northern Ireland to develop a strip on visors to counter such attacks.

"Laser attacks present a horrendous problem which is worsening with the easy availability of low-cost, high-power lasers," he said.

He said that it is possible to buy powerful lasers with a range of kilometres -- rather than a few meters -- particularly if the atmospheric conditions are right. Tyrer stressed that these more powerful lasers have no practical use.

"There are people that buy these things off the Internet which are shipped in typically from the Far East, which are very, very powerful lasers and have no use as a pointer," he said.

He said anyone hit with a laser could have watering eyes or a headache, though he cautioned that he had no direct knowledge of what the Virgin pilot might have suffered.

"This is not a prank," Tyrer said. "There are laws that say you can't do this."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 12 dead in hotel fire in Georgia's Black Sea resort

    World News CTV News
    TBILISI, Georgia -- The Georgian Interior Ministry says 12 people have died in a fire in a hotel in the Black Sea resort city of Batumi. Russia's TASS news agency is quoting the ministry as saying the fire engulfed the Leogrand hotel late Friday evening. Source
  • Canadian charged in Yahoo hacking case to plead guilty in U.S., court records say

    Canada News CBC News
    A Canadian accused by the United States of helping Russian intelligence agents break into email accounts as part of a massive 2014 breach of Yahoo accounts is expected to plead guilty next week, according to court records. Source
  • Notley wins over Calgary business crowd, starting with 'eastern bastards' remark

    Canada News CBC News
    Two years after struggling through a speech in front of an awkwardly silent business crowd, Rachel Notley stood before the Calgary Chamber again on Friday and opened with a joke. "I spent the earlier part of the week out in Ontario — you know, the home of those eastern bastards," the Alberta premier said. Source
  • Starting with 'eastern bastards' remark, Notley wins over Calgary business crowd

    Canada News CBC News
    Two years after struggling through a speech in front of an awkwardly silent business crowd, Rachel Notley stood before the Calgary Chamber again on Friday and opened with a joke. "I spent the earlier part of the week out in Ontario — you know, the home of those eastern bastards," the Alberta premier said. Source
  • Jewish group, residents of Ontario town urge new name for 'Swastika Trail'

    Canada News CTV News
    A major Jewish advocacy group in Canada has stepped up efforts to help some residents of an Ontario town convince local politicians to rename a street currently called Swastika Trail. B'nai Brith Canada started an online petition Thursday calling on Puslinch Township, about 75 kilometres west of Toronto, to change the street name. Source
  • Fraud trial of the 'Muslim Madoff' adjourned after accused fires lawyer: Crown

    Canada News CBC News
    The trial of a Toronto businessman charged with fraud for allegedly pocketing millions in "Shariah-compliant" mortgages has been delayed until next fall — just as it was beginning. The opening day of the trial for Omar Kalair, dubbed the "Muslim Madoff" by some of the homeowners who were allegedly left thousands in the hole after buying into the mortgages marketed to Muslims, got underway earlier this month. Source
  • False killer whale is latest cetacean to die at Vancouver Aquarium

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Aquarium says the false killer whale it rescued off a beach over three years ago has died at the facility. The aquarium says in a statement that Chester's behaviour changed Wednesday and despite intensive veterinary care, he died this morning. Source
  • 'Chester' is 4th cetacean dead at Vancouver Aquarium this year

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A false killer whale has died at the Vancouver Aquarium, becoming the fourth cetacean to die at the facility in the past year. The aquarium said in a statement that Chester's behaviour changed Wednesday and despite intensive veterinary care, he died on Friday morning. Source
  • Politician's baby banned from municipal assembly in Japan

    World News CBC News
    A baby brought into a Japanese municipal assembly chamber by his lawmaker mother was promptly ejected because his presence was against the rules, an official said on Friday, highlighting the hurdles faced by working women in Japan. Source
  • Senior Ukraine separatist: Rebel chief has resigned

    World News CTV News
    MINSK, Belarus -- A senior separatist official in eastern Ukraine on Friday announced the resignation of thebeleaguered rebel chief in an apparent palace coup, ending a four-day showdown between rivaling factions. Leonid Pasechnik, state security minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, said in a statement on Friday evening that the republic's chief Igor Plotnitsky has resigned on health grounds. Source