A pilot was attempting to land a plane at the Villeneuve Airport when the aircraft was struck by a green laser.
RCMP said the incident, reported to them by NAV Canada, happened Wednesday night at the airport northwest of Edmonton.
Police said the pilot was able to land the aircraft safely, however, the incident is a reminder of the dangers of lasers.
The laser can temporarily blind the pilot, create intense glare that affects the pilot’s vision and distract the pilot, putting all people aboard the aircraft at serious risk, police said.
WATCH: A Global News helicopter was targeted with a laser pointer during a newscast. Pointing a laser at an aircraft is illegal, but as Angie Seth reports, the number of incidents are on the rise in Canada.
According to Transport Canada, there were over 500 reported laser strikes in 2016, putting pilots, crews and passengers at risk.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is illegal and a criminal offence, RCMP said. Under the Aeronautics Act, people convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft could face up to $100,000 in fines, five years in prison, or both.
In addition to laser pointers, pilots face another concern in the form of Christmas laser lights designed to adorn the facades of houses.
These gadgets come with a warning to not project lights at or near the flight path of an aircraft within 10 nautical miles of an airport. If the user’s desired lighting surface is within that radius, users are asked to lower the angle of the light so that the lasers aren’t pointed at the sky.
Anyone with information about the laser-pointing incident is asked to call Morinville RCMP or submit their information anonymously to Crime Stoppers.
— With files from David Shum and Rahul Kalvapalle, Global News
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