Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Laser pointed at aircraft was third such incident in past few weeks, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says

WEST PALM BEACH — A JetBlue flight landed safely at Palm Beach International Airport Monday night after someone pointed a green laser into the cockpit. 

It was the third such incident in the area since Nov. 29, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

The JetBlue aircraft was landing at PBIA at about 9 p.m.

According to a release from the sheriff’s office, the control tower reported that a person pointed a laser at JetBlue Flight 521 from LaGuardia Airport to Palm Beach.

The said that, on final approach, at about 1,700 feet, he saw a very bright, constant green laser enter the cockpit from the windshield. He believed he was intentionally tracked as the laser made sweeping movements with the laser across the aircraft.

The pilot said he had to shield his eyes to continue trying to land the plane. The pilot believed the laser came from the northeast corner of Belvedere Road and Benoist Farms Road. The PBSO Aviation Unit checked but did not come up with anything.

On Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office sent out a release stating that this has been the third time since Nob. 29 that someone has shined a light at an airplane at PBIA.

The report stated that on Dec. 1, at 8:30 p.m., deputies were told of a similar incident with another JetBlue plane. The laser was seen by a passenger who thought the laser had come from west of State Road 7 and south of Southern Boulevard.

Also, on Nov. 29, a PBSO pilot was flying in the area of Hagen Ranch Road and Lantana Road when the aircraft was struck by a green laser light. The pilot believed a person was tracking them with the beam.

The issue of green lasers being pointed into the cockpits of aircraft’s has been an ongoing problem, the sheriff’s office said.

Misuse of a laser lighting device is a third-degree felony. Knowingly pointing the beam on an individual operating a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft is a second-degree felony if the act results in bodily injury.

If such an act caused an aircraft to crash, the penalty would be a first-degree felony.

Anyone who witnesses the misuse of a laser lighting device is asked to call the nearest law enforcement agency, Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS (8477), or text to

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