(Updates with additional laser strikes)
Nov 12 Dangerous beams from handheld lasers
struck 20 aircraft flying over the United States and its
territories overnight, among the nearly 5,400 laser hits in the
nation so far this year, the Federal Aviation Administration
said on Thursday.
No injuries were reported in the incidents, which took place
from New York City to Sacramento, and resulted in at least one
arrest. Authorities said the incidents did not appear to be
linked to each other.
"Shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime," the FAA
said in a statement.
Laser beams can lead to temporary blindness in pilots and,
in some cases, pilots have reported eye injuries that required
As of Oct. 16, the total number of laser strikes around the
U.S. this year was 5,352, the FAA said.
One man was arrested in New York after a Channel 4 news
helicopter was struck by a laser beam while flying near the
Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn at 5:15 p.m. ET (2215 GMT) on
Wednesday. The pilot alerted LaGuardia Airport's air traffic
control tower staff, which notified a New York Police Department
Police in the air worked with their colleagues on the ground
to track the suspect to the rear of a building near downtown
Brooklyn, where he was taken into custody, the NYPD said.
Ossieo Silva, 20, was charged with felony and misdemeanor
counts of reckless endangerment.
Authorities did not immediately respond to a Reuters query
as to whether he also was charged with a federal crime.
At Love Field in Dallas on Wednesday night, three planes
preparing to land reported being hit by a laser beam as they
flew at between 3,000 and 4,000 feet, a Federal Aviation
Administration official said.
No one was arrested, and there was no harm to the Southwest
Airlines and Virgin America planes and a private
"Unauthorized laser illumination event (inaudible) miles
southeast of Dallas Love airport, 4,000 feet. Green laser" an
air traffic controller said in a recording played on TV station
The FAA said laser strikes were reported overnight by other
aircraft in New York, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Los Angeles,
Albuquerque, Sacramento, Newark, New Jersey; Jamestown, New
York; Oakland, California; Covington, Kentucky; Danville,
Kentucky; Palm Springs, California; Ontario, California; St.
Petersburg, Florida; Springfield, Illinois and San Juan, Puerto
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Jon Herskovitz
in Texas; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Alan Crosby)