Police: Laser from Temple University Building Shined at Helicopter

PHILADELPHIA-(WTXF)-Police say someone in a campus building at Temple University shined a laser pointer at a police helicopter flying by.

A photo was taken by a Philadelphia police chopper pilot over Morgan Hall at Temple University moments after a laser was pointed at the TAC Air Unit while on patrol last night.

"This is something that could have caused injury to our pilots and can cause injury to any pilot that's up in the air conducting business," said Philadelphia Police Lt. John Stanford.

Including pilots like Ray Oxline who operates SkyFOX for FOX 29.

"It's like a flashbulb going off. It's just a bright green and it completely wipes out your vision; sometimes you can't even see the instruments anymore and you get disoriented," he explained.

Oxline was flying SkyFOX when this green laser was pointed at him over Port Richmond a few years ago.

"It completely illuminated the inside of the aircraft and I completely lost sight of the airport," said Oxline.

The light from a laser can travel farther than a mile and can even damage the cornea. The FAA has investigated numerous cases where lasers blind pilots all across the country. In Oxline's case, he was able to recover.

"I had my camera pilot with me and we were able to keep control of the aircraft, and bring the aircraft into a safe landing," he told FOX 29.

Temple University circulated a memo to students detailing the incident and warning them of the criminal and university penalties that could come from such an act. Many students were surprised to hear about it.

Philadelphia police say they will get charges pressed against those who did this if they are caught.

'We just want to be clear that it is very serious and it's something that we will assist in terms of prosecuting," said Lt. Stanford.