A man has appeared in the Gore District Court today after being arrested in relation to laser strikes on the Otago Rescue Helicopter.

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

On May 22, the rescue helicopter was targeted by a laser pointer around 7.30pm - the crew were uninjured in the event.

In a statement, police said the 33-year-old man faced court charged with endangering transport, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.


"I think the majority of the public would agree that deliberately endangering an aircraft, which has the sole purpose of saving lives is absolutely shocking behaviour," said Detective Leigh Waddell of Gore Police.

"Thankfully on this occasion, there were no patients on board at the time."

Waddell would like to hear from anyone else who witnessed the incident, or the subsequent fleeing driver incident around Gore.

He can be reached at the Gore Police Station on 03 203 9300.

Anonymous information can also be provided by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.