DENVER (CBS4)– Kenneth Karol is apologizing after admitting to flashing a laser at Copter4 before dawn Thursday morning.
KOA News Radio’s John Morrissey was in the middle of a traffic report around 6:30 a.m. when he says a laser cut through Copter4 as it hovered above Stapleton.
“It’s a very bright, intense, blue light,” said Morrissey.
Photographer Paul Drexler spotted two construction workers down below, one of them shining a laser in their direction.
The crew said the light made it hard to see.
“For somebody to be clowning around with a laser pointer, putting us in harm’s way, it kind of made me mad,” said Morrissey.
Pilot Kelby Alexander describes losing his night vision as “disorienting” and dangerous.
“It multiplies into hundreds of laser beams, which basically start boucing all over and illuminate the cockpit,” Alexander said. “It can last 20 to 30 seconds, which is a long time when you’re in the air.”
The FAA says laser sightings aren’t that uncommon.
In addition to the Stapleton scare Thursday morning, two other pilots reported lasers in Centennial and Greeley, one of them a commercial aircraft.
Karol, the man who identified himself as the suspect, says he never meant any harm.
“I’m really, really sorry for putting their lives in danger,” Karol said. “Thank God nobody got hurt.”
Morrissey hopes the incident will remind people to use lasers for the right reasons.
“It’s not a toy,” Morrissey said. “You should never point those things at aircraft.”
The U.S Attorney’s Office says Karol was released from custody. A U.S. Attorney’s spokesperson says it’s unclear if Karol will face any charges.