FBI targets people pointing lasers into cockpits of aircraft
The FBI has offered a US$10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of people who point lasers into aeroplane cockpits in the United States, saying there has been a "disturbing" increase in the incidents.
Since 2005, when federal authorities began tracking such crimes, instances of handheld lasers being directed into the cockpits of airborne planes had increased more than tenfold, US authorities said.
"A laser pointed at a plane's cockpit could blind a pilot," said FBI assistant director in charge George Venizelos.
"We are asking anyone who knows anything about the recent spate of incidents to pick up the phone and call the FBI for the safety of all who fly."
The latest known incident occurred on May 23, when a pilot for Shuttle America said someone shone a laser into his cockpit as the aircraft approached LaGuardia airport in New York.
"The Shuttle America's cockpit was illuminated four times by a powerful green laser at 5,000 feet (1,500 metres)," the FBI said.
"The beam originated from a residential area approximately eight miles (13 kilometres) south of LaGuardia."