My watch list  

Strait of Juan de Fuca laser incident

Strait of Juan de Fuca laser incident

Additional recommended knowledge

On 4 April 1997, the Russian merchant ship Kapitan Man was anchored in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, apporximately 5 miles due north of Port Angeles. Responding to a request based on previous suspicious activity of the ship, the Canadian armed forces dispatched a CH-124 helicopter to fly by the ship and take photographs of the abnormal aerial antenna structure of the vessel.

On board the aircraft were U.S. Navy Lt. Jack Daly and Canadian Armed Forces pilot Capt. Patrick Barnes. Lt. Daly was the Navy's foreign-intelligence liaison officer in Esquimalt, British Columbia, heading a joint U.S.-Canadian helicopter-surveillance operation against Russian, Chinese and other spy ships operating in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which separates British Columbia from Washington state, and in Puget Sound, the site of major U.S. nuclear ballistic-missile submarine and aircraft-carrier bases.

While taking photographs of the ship and more specifically the bridge, Lt. Daly suddenly experienced intense pain in his right eye as well as temporary blindness. Daly suffered direct laser burns to his right eye, as well as other vision problems and severe headaches. Captain Barnes was also injured and was permanently grounded as a result of this incident. He has since lost all his flight qualifications.

Tests showed the men were most likely hit with a Neodymium YAG laser, according to a USMRD analysis. Shortly after the incident, Coast Guard teams were given two hours to search the vessel but did not locate a laser. Teams were not given full access to the ship, however, and the Clinton administration had warned the Russian government in advance the ship would be searched. [1]

Lt. Daly and his peers are adimant to this day that a cover-up has been orchestrated by the state department at the time (Clinton Administration) to avoid hindering negotiations.

The ZM-87 Portable Laser Disturber has been suspected of being the weapon used[citation needed].


  • [2]
  • [3]
  • [4]
  • [5]
  • [6]
  • [7]
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Strait_of_Juan_de_Fuca_laser_incident". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE