Gardaí asked to investigate after laser pointed at Shannon bound jet

By Patrick Flynn

Gardaí have been asked to investigate an incident where a flight on approach to Shannon was targeted by use of a potentially harmful laser.

The incident happened over Co Wexford at around 10.15pm last night as TNT Airways flight 1461 was descending towards Shannon Airport.

The cargo flight from Amsterdam had just passed south of Enniscorthy when the crew told air traffic controllers that a green laser had been aimed into their cockpit.

The crew continued to Shannon for a safe landing and did not report any injuries or adversely affected by the laser. The matter was reported to Gardaí in Wexford by controllers.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) takes such incidents very seriously and reports dozens of incidents to An Garda every year.

Lasers can affect the safety of an aircraft, especially if the flight is at a critical phase, such as landing. Pilots targeted in such incidents have previously reported flash blindness as a result of being targeted.

Just last Sunday, a transatlantic jet turned around north of Donegal and returned to London after one of the pilots reported being affected by a laser.

Virgin Atlantic flight 25 had been targeted while taking off from Heathrow earlier, however it was only an hour later before one of the pilots felt the affects of the beam.

The flight turned around and returned to London for a safe landing.

Last Friday, an Alitalia flight carrying Pope Francis to Mexico for a five-day tour was targeted while on approach to Mexico City airport. The jet landed safely.