Monday, July 14, 2008

Laser partially blinds audience at Open Air Festival

Just read this crazy story over on Reuters UK. After an Open Air Festival in Moscow dozens of audience members have been hospitalized for partial blindness. "They all have retinal burns, scarring is visible on them. Loss of vision in individual cases is as high as 80 percent, and regaining it is already impossible." a reporting newspaper quoted a treating ophthalmologist as saying.

Yipes. 80% vision loss.... of course the organisers have no phone number or contact details on their website and it looks like they've done a legger. I used to work the lights I burned my fingers a few times trying to realign those lasers so I know how powerful they can be and how careful you have to be when working with them. Apparently it was raining in Moscow that night so the organisers of the rave put some kind of tent over the audience and laser light that was supposed to illuminate the night sky was reflected back into the crowd.

"I immediately had a spot like when you stare into the sun," rave-attendee Dmitry told reporting newspaper Kommersant.

Who is to blame.... "illiteracy on the part of technicians" according to a laser hire company.

2 comments:

DeFeKT said...

thats mad!

Maff

Patrick Murphy said...

The laser company took a laser intended for overhead use and stupidly and illegally aimed it downwards into the audience. They used a pulsed laser which generates thousands of powerful laser bursts per second. This is fine for mid-air effects. But it should NEVER be used to scan an audience, because the pulses concentrate the light energy.

It is possible to safely do shows with continuous lasers into an audience, if you know what you are doing. This is commonly done in thousands of venues every day, mostly in Europe and Asia.

Any competent laserist knows not to use pulsed lasers for audience scanning. Yet the idiots at the Open Air Festival used a pulsed laser, as confirmed by footage shown on TV. Much more info about this incident is at http://www.laserist.org/2008-07_Russian-incident.htm .