You might think you’re pointing a laser up into the sky willy-nilly where it can flash harmlessly, but some of those beams might find their way into the wrong eyes. A JetBlue pilot recently suffered an eye injury when a green laser was pointed directly into the cockpit as the plane headed to JFK Airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s report says the laser beamed through the windshield of the plane, hitting the first officer in the eye. The pilot immediately informed the control tower, saying there were two green flashes. The FAA says the pilot’s injury was minor, and the flight landed safely 10 minutes later, reports ABC News.
Turns out this isn’t a totally uncommon event — there were more than 3,500 documented incidents of lasers pointed at aircrafts in 2011, a drastic difference from 300 in 2005. Earlier this week in San Francisco, two planes were reportedly targeted by green lasers as well, but no pilots were injured.
“What happens is that pinpoint spreads out as it gets up higher and farther away, and what may seem like a very faint light to you, in a cockpit, gets almost blinding,” San Francisco International Airport spokesman Mike McCarron said.
In response, authorities say they’re going to pursue stricter penalties to punish whoever is shining lasers at planes.
“Interfering with a flight crew is a federal crime. So, the FBI has looked into these laser incidents over the last several years,” said Richard Kolko, special agent with the FBI. “We’ve located some of them. Several of them have been prosecuted.”