Dangerous Laser Incidents on Rise in NY-Area Airports: FBI

The FBI is investigating the increasing number of laser incidents targeting planes in the New York metro area

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    Lasers targeting airplanes in New York City's area airports have increased 17 percent since last year, and the FBI is stepping up efforts to crack down on the dangerous incidents.

    The FBI says pilot injuries resulting from the laser incidents have also increased in the past year, including a burnt retina.

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    At Kennedy Airport, lasers were pointed into cockpits 17 times in 2013, including once in October; at LaGuardia Airport, there were 54 laser incidents in 2013, and three in October; and at Newark Airport, there were 18 events in 2013, including four in October. 

    The two most recent laser events happened on Oct. 15, both at or near LaGuardia Airport, according to the FBI. At 7:35 p.m., a green laser pointed into the cockpit of Shuttle America Flight 5973 as it was on its final approach toward the airport. The crew reported the laser beam originated about a half-mile west of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx -- about six miles from the runway,at 2,000 feet. 

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    At 10:37 p.m., a private aircraft heading eastbound over the Triborough Bridge reported a laser originating near the intersection of Broadway and Steinway in Astoria, Queens, about two miles southwest of LaGuardia. 

    The FBI says it is working with pilots and the Port Authority to locate the offenders. Those caught shining lasers into planes can face prison time and fines of up to $11,000 from the FAA. 

    The FBI is asking anyone with information about the laser incidents to call them at 212-384-1000.

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