Laser beam sends Coast Guard pilot to hospital

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A Coast Guard jet crew member was targeted by a laser while flying off Portland, Texas, during a critical phase on an instrument approach into Corpus Christi International Airport, Monday.

"The laser directly hit one of our crew members while conducting an instrument approach and it filled the cockpit with a blinding light. We had to conduct an emergency landing and one of our crew members was sent to the Bay Area Emergency Room. 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," said Lt. Philip Thisse, the aircraft commander of the Falcon jet that was lased.

In this incident, the crew member suffered temporary vision impairment and a full recovery is expected.

Officials say lasing an aircraft is a Federal offense and is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and up to five years imprisonment.

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