Thursday, November 16, 2017

Methuen, Essex County, Massachusetts: FedEx 1291 aircraft crew reports laser incident

METHUEN — Authorities are investigating after the crew of a cargo plane reported seeing a blue laser shining into the aircraft while flying over Methuen Wednesday night.

The crew of FedEx 1291 reported the laser was illuminating the Boeing 757 aircraft at 9:42 p.m. Wednesday, investigators said. No injuries were reported, according to an Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

The plane was en route to Memphis International Airport from Portland International Jetport in Maine.

The FAA notified Methuen police and Massachusetts State Police, and will investigate, the agency said.

Methuen police said they were contacted by Boston Air Traffic Control about a plane that had reported a laser strike. Other area towns were contacted as well, as it was not clear where the laser originated from, police said.

Cruisers were put on alert, but Methuen police said that nothing came of it Wednesday night.

The FAA said lasers can temporarily blind a pilot, interfere with a flight crew's operations and jeopardize the safety of passengers, particularly during take-off and landing.

Instances of lasers being pointed at aircraft, whether purposefully or accidentally, have been on the rise for years. Statistics compiled by the FAA show there were 3,894 laser incidents affecting aircraft in 2014 alone, the most recent data that is available.

The FAA announced in 2011 that it would begin imposing civil penalties against people who point a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft, up to a maximum of $11,000 per violation, according to an FAA press release. It has been a federal crime to aim a laser pointer at an aircraft since 2012.

The FAA has also issued guidelines for state and local police to help identify and report unauthorized laser strikes against aircraft.

Original article can be found here ➤

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