FBI looking for information on suspects pointing laser lights at - WDRB 41 Louisville News

FBI looking for information on suspects pointing laser lights at aircraft

Posted: Updated:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It may seem like harmless prank, but to the FBI it's no joke. The agency is cracking down on people who point lasers at airplanes.

The reported cases of people pointing lasers at aircraft in flight have increase more than 1000% since 2005.

Video provided by the FBI illustrates just how dangerous the practice called "lasing" can be.

What is a pinhole light on the ground expands into two feet by the time it hits the plane, blinding the pilot and preventing him from seeing the flight controls.

"It would be like being in the dark and having someone shine a light right in your eyes. You really can't see," said Mary Trotman, spokesperson for the Louisville FBI office.

There have been no crashes directly caused by lasing, yet. But the FBI says the problem is getting worse - an 1,100% increase since 2005.

In Kentucky, there were 43 laser strikes in 2012, 99 in 2013, and 18 so far this year.

"Most of these are happening in the middle of the night, and I believe they are probably perpetrated by people who don't realize how dangerous it is," said Trotman.

Now, the FBI is offering a $10,000 reward to anyone providing information that leads to an arrest.

"This is a little different than some of the rewards that are typically offered where it has to be an arrest and a conviction. In this case, it is an arrest," said Trotman.

Along with the reward, the FBI is launching a public awareness campaign, including an interview with a pilot who has experienced lasing.

"It is a tremendous distraction within the flight deck. It is a very real safety hazard," said Capt. Robert Hamilton in the FBI video.

Intentionally aiming a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime, carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The reward is available only for the next 90 days.

To report a lasing incident, call 9-1-1 or the Louisville office of the FBI at (502) 263-6000. More information is available on the FBI website.

Copyright 2014 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.