Police zero in on laser incidents near King Shaka

2014-05-20 00:00

THE locations from which lasers are being pointed at aircraft coming into land at King Shaka International Airport have been identified by the police.

According to SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, the police are aware of particular areas around King Shaka where people shine these lasers from, naming Durban North, Umhlanga, Phoenix, Ballito, Tongaat and Verulam.

Naicker said laser incidents have been reported by pilots to air traffic navigation systems since the new airport came into operation. “Since 2013 the incidents have increased,” he said, adding all police stations were informed when such incidents occurred but as yet there had been no arrests.

According to chairperson of the Phoenix, Verulam and Tongaat Community Police Forum, Omesh Singh, the issue has been discussed at meetings of the station commanders in the area. “They are trying to create an awareness of the issue,” said Singh. “It is a very serious matter and we want to sensitise the community about it and nab the culprits.”

Durban North CPF chairperson Haden Searle said his forum had been aware of the phenomenon for a “long period of time”.

Searle said one particular incident stood out although it involved a spotlight and not a laser. “A police helicopter was on a flight path over our area when a spotlight was shone into his cockpit and it really startled the pilot. He was able to pinpoint the area where it came from and we went and confiscated this massive spotlight.”

Searle said the man responsible claimed he was “just shining the spotlight into the air. But the pilot was adamant that he continued to shine the spotlight at his chopper and the pilot was quite worried about crashing”.

Talking about laser incidents, Searle said it’s “a potentially catastrophic bit of tomfoolery”.

The worst affected airport in South Africa when it comes to such incidents is Cape Town, according to Captain Margaret Viljoen, vice-chairperson of the Airline Pilots’ Association South Africa (Alpa). The second most affected airport is Lanseria, north-west of Johannesburg, followed by O.R. Tambo and Durban’s King Shaka International.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.