Lasers zap six planes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 March, 2008, 12:00am

An Australian state may ban hand-held laser pointers after six planes arriving in Sydney were forced to alter their flight paths.

Beams from four green lasers, which appeared to come from an area just southwest of the city, were directed at planes for 15 minutes late on Saturday in what officials labelled a 'co-ordinated attack.'

They did not know who was behind it.

An Air Services Australia spokesman described it as 'the worst attack in our experience', the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

David Campbell, the police minister of New South Wales, said the state was now considering a ban of the small laser pointers, common in classrooms and presentations.

'There are some penalties that police can impose now, but we're looking to make these items a prohibited weapon in certain circumstances, which would lead to substantial fines and possible jail terms.'

Other Australian states have already banned the lasers. In the United States, it is a federal offence to point a laser at an aircraft.

A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman said it was unlikely that the lasers could lead to a crash, especially on commercial flights with two pilots.