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Florida helicopter pilot blinded by laser during standoff

Man accused of blinding a pilot with a laser pointer. (Pasco Sheriff's Office)

A man is accused of zapping a helicopter pilot with a laser pointer, temporarily blinding him during a standoff in central Florida.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office arrested 27-year-old Ryan Fluke on a charge of misuse of laser lighting devices.

On Tuesday night, the air unit with the sheriff's office was giving cover to ground teams at the scene of a standoff at Fluke's home when all of a sudden the pilot became blinded by a laser pointer, "interfering with the mission," authorities said.

The sheriff's office said the pilot had to pull away from the standoff scene. The pilot tracked down the source of the laser pointer, landed the helicopter in a parking lot and went to Fluke's home to arrest him.

A similar incident happened last month in Florida. A helicopter pilot for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office had to land after getting blinded by a laser pointer during a nighttime search for a missing child.

Deputies made an arrest in that case as well.

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