Lasers Aimed at Passenger Jets, Helicopter Near Newark Airport

Lasers can blind or distract pilots, and the number of laser strikes has been rising over the last few years

Friday, Aug 16, 2013  |  Updated 7:40 PM EDT
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Officials in New Jersey say laser pointers were directed at planes near Teterboro and Newark airports. The lasers can be distracting and deadly. Brian Thompson reports.

NBC 4 New York

Officials in New Jersey say laser pointers were directed at planes near Teterboro and Newark airports. The lasers can be distracting and deadly. Brian Thompson reports.

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Three aircraft, including two commercial jets, were targeted with laser pointers near Newark Airport on Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration said. 

The commercial flights -- a Boeing 737 and an Embraer 135 -- were targeted with a green laser beam shortly before 10 p.m. while on their final approach to the airport. They were following each other at an altitude of 3,000 feet and were able to land safely. 

Half an hour earlier, according to the FAA, someone pointed a green and white laser beam at a helicopter as it flew about 10 miles southwest of the airport. 

No injuries were reported. The FAA notified the state police.

Lasers can blind or distract pilots, and laser strikes have increased in the United States as hand-held pointers have become cheaper and more powerful. Manufacturers have also introduced green lasers, which are more visible than red ones.

Nearly 3,500 aircraft nationwide were targeted with laser pointers in 2012, up from 2,836 in 2010. More than 65 were in New Jersey.

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