US Coast Guard looking for people who pointed laser at crew in Ketchikan

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 3:52 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The U.S. Coast Guard is asking for the public’s help with information about the people or person involved in pointing a green laser at the crew of a 45-foot response boat in Ketchikan Saturday evening.

In a release, the Coast Guard said a boat crew was conducting operations in the Tongass Narrows around 8:45 p.m. when a laser was pointed at the cabin of the boat from the intersection of Baranof Avenue and Carlanna Lakes Road.

Capt. Stephen White, the Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander, said the incident jeopardized the safety of the crew.

“It is important for the public to understand that using these lasers irresponsibly is dangerous,” he said in a prepared statement. “It not only puts our boat crews at risk, but it also degrades our ability to respond in emergency situations, which means we may not be able to help if a mariner needs us.”

In a statement, the Coast Guard said lasers can hurt crews by causing flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision. When the laser was pointed at the crew over the weekend, the Coast Guard said crew members immediately turned away from the laser and moved the vessel north to get out of range.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service is currently investigating the incident and is asking people with information to call 907-463-2117 or leave an anonymous tip online.

Pointing a laser intentionally at a vessel in U.S. waters is a felony crime, the Coast Guard said in the release.

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