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Laser dangerously pointed at police Eagle helicopter twice on first night in Christchurch

A police Eagle helicopter operating in Christchurch for the first time last night was targeted by lasers twice.

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One of the three choppers based in Auckland will be used for the trial. Source: Breakfast

Canterbury Police said in a Facebook post today the helicopter was targeted by lasers, including during a search for a victim.

"The Eagle crew are working hard to keep the communities of Christchurch safe and it is disappointing that some members of the public have chosen to endanger the lives of those on board," the post said.

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Shaun Clark says his life was put in danger and tried to chase down his attackers. Source: Seven Sharp

The lasering of aircraft is an offence under the Crimes Act and carries a possible sentence of up to 14 years imprisonment.

Deliberately shining a laser at any aircraft can cause the pilot to become disoriented and temporarily blinded, which in turn could cause them to lose control of the aircraft, authorities say.

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The CAA says laser strikes have the “potential to cause an extremely high level of public harm in the case of an accident”. Source: Seven Sharp

Police said inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

Also during the first night of the Canterbury Eagle five-week trial in the Wainoni and New Brighton areas, the helicopter was used to assist officers on the ground to locate a person wanted for an assault and another person in mental distress. 

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The police are replacing their three squirrels helicopters with three twin-engine Bell 429 helicopters. Source: Supplied

Eagle helicopters are deployed to more than 6000 incidents a year, with more than half involving road policing and road safety, including fleeing driver events.