WASHINGTON – A U.S. Navy commander says an Iranian naval patrol boat shined a laser at a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter flying over the Strait of Hormuz in what officials say was an unsafe encounter.
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban says the Iranian vessel also turned its spotlight on two Navy ships that were moving through the strait on Tuesday. Urban, a U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesman, says the Iranian boat came within 800 yards of the USS Bataan, scanned it from bow to stern with the spotlight and shined the light on the USS Cole.
The helicopter automatically fired flares in response.
Urban says the action was considered dangerous because shining lasers at a helicopter at night can impair pilots' vision and disorient them if they're wearing night vision goggles.