QUEENS — Do you know who might be pointing a blue laser at incoming airplanes near JFK? Tell them to cut it out — then call the FBI.
The FBI’s New York Field Office issued an appeal for assistance on Thursday for help identifying the individual, or individuals, responsible for aiming a blue laser at airplanes coming into John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City.
Pilots have reported eye injuries as a result of it, the FBI said. The laser appears to be originating from the area of Roslyn, New York, a town on Long Island, according to an FBI announcement.
It added that the laser beams, which illuminate aircraft cabins and can temporarily blind pilots, are part of an increase in “laser incidents” around New York.
CNN reached out to the FBI to ask for more information but did not hear back.
A serious crime
Air Line Pilots Association International President Captain Lee Moak described the risk pilots face from lasers as unacceptable. “Pointing lasers at aircraft in flight poses a serious safety risk to the traveling public,” he said. He promised the group would “vigorously pursue anyone who misuses these devices.”
It is a felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, or both.
According to the FAA, there were 147 reported laser strike incidents in 2018 and 92 this year through September 7 for the metro New York and New Jersey area.
There was a reported 6,754 total laser strikes nationwide in 2017, which is a 250 percent increase in laser strikes from when the FAA first started tracking the incidents in 2010.
“Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety risk and violates federal law. Many high-powered lasers can completely incapacitate pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations and may be carrying hundreds of passengers,” the FAA states on their website.