An investigation into the incident, at Porto Airport in Portugal on September 5 2015, has highlighted the lack of legislation in Portugal covering the targeting of aircraft with lasers.

The probe into the incident was delegated by the Portuguese authorities to the Irish Department of Transport’s Air Accident Investigation Unit as Ireland is the ‘state of registry’ for the incident aircraft.

The incident flight was a scheduled service from Lille in France to Porto Airport in Portugal. Shortly after 9pm the Boeing 737-800 was on its final approach when the co-pilot, who was the pilot flying, was distracted by a green laser light being shone towards the aircraft.

The laser was not pointing directly at the aircraft, and then disappeared from view, leading the co-pilot to believe that it had been switched off.

However, shortly after establishing on the final approach track, a laser was directed towards the aircraft from the same area but this time illuminated the cockpit. The co-pilot put his left hand up to shield his eyes.

The commander, who was acting as pilot monitoring and was unaware of the laser, looked up at that moment and her eyes were struck by the laser light. She sustained flash-blindness which is a temporary visual loss or impairment during and following exposure to a light flash of extremely high intensity. The effects may last for several seconds to a few minutes.

Source:  Irish Examiner


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