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Feds cracking down on pointing laser at plane

The FBI is cracking down on people who point lasers at planes. Officials say the light can temporarily blind a pilot.
February 11, 2014 1:00:28 PM PST
The FBI is launching a new crackdown on people who point lasers at airplanes. Officials say the light from the small devices can temporarily blind a pilot.

Authorities announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who points a laser at a plane.

According to the FBI, these types of incidents have skyrocketed recently, with Los Angeles having the highest number of reported incidents last year at 127 incidents.

When someone points a small laser pen at a plane from the ground, the beam expands to as wide as two feet. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies want the public to know how dangerous "lasing" any aircraft can be.

"This is no prank. This is not funny. This is real business. This is real world. This cannot happen, and we cannot have a serious accident that's related to this," said Chief Patrick Gannon of Los Angeles World Airport Police.

Lt. Steve Robertson, a Glendale police pilot, said when it happened to him, it caused injury to his corneas.

"You have no idea what just happened. The entire cockpit turns green. If I was the only pilot on board that helicopter that night, there was no way I could have landed the aircraft," Robertson said.

Last year, there were more than 3,900 incidents reported -- an all time high.