Green Laser Beam Pointed at Plane During Landing

By Stephanie Parkinson - 21Alive

December 20, 2013 Updated Dec 20, 2013 at 6:41 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - A green laser beam was aimed at a plane as it was landing at the Fort Wayne International Airport Wednesday night.

Officials with the airport say this can be very dangerous to pilots, especially when they're so low to the ground.

"It could cause a blindness on a temporary environment in a time frame when the aircraft in its critical area of either arriving or departing so it's a safety factor," said Scott Hinderman, Executive Director, Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Development Authority.

The pilot alerted authorities. Fort Wayne Police searched the area where the laser was spotted.

Officers believe the person with the laser was somewhere on Kinnerk Road, but they never located the suspect, or the laser used.

According to the FAA, there were nearly 3,500 incidents last year, in the United States, where lasers were pointed at planes.

Often times the lasers used, in these cases, are designed for star gazing, and are typically used to point out star formations in the night sky.

"If they're out looking at stars it would be really inadvertent if it would touch an aircraft so I can't really speak of why it's happening to aircraft but, you are correct, there has been a significant increase of laser beams as it relates to beams on airplanes on approach or departure," said Hinderman.

In 2012, aiming a laser beam at an aircraft became a federal offense. Although this crime is more prevalent in other parts of the country in Fort Wayne they typically only see two or three cases each year.

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