- Pilots Report Laser Attacks at Moscow Airport
- Jets Hit by New Spate of Blinding Laser Attacks in Russia
- Three Planes Blinded with Laser on Landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo
St. PETERSBURG, August 24 (RIA Novosti) – Police in Russia’s northern city of St. Petersburg are investigating an attempt to ‘blind’ the pilots of a plane that was coming in to land at the local airport, the regional branch of the Interior Ministry said Saturday.
“The incident took place at about 02:00 Moscow time near the village of Gorelovo. An unknown miscreant used a laser to try to blind the pilots on board flight number 205 from Kazan to St Petersburg,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the attack took place when the plane was at an altitude of about 500 meters, around 10 kilometers away from Pulkovo-1 airport.
Although the plane landed normally, the incident was reported to the police and an investigation is underway – including a manhunt for the alleged attacker.
This incident comes as the latest in what Russian transport police have called a “spate” of five similar attacks on planes coming in to land at airports in the country’s two biggest cities: Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In 2011, over 50 such attacks were reported – prompting the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, to propose introducing a punishment of up to 10 years behind bars for the offense.
Until the recent reported uptick in attacks, however, the bill was stuck in legislative limbo. Lawmaker Pavel Krasheninnikov said on August 13 that the Duma could revive work on the bill in its fall session.
Laser pointers were banned in mid-2011 in Chechnya by the republic’s head Ramzan Kadyrov, after a local teenager attacked a jet over the capital Grozny. The teenager was caught, but escaped with a verbal telling-off by Kadyrov.
The light from these laser pointers can travel several kilometers, and can cause pilots short-term vision loss or glare on cockpit windows, preventing the pilots from seeing outside.
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