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Posted: September 24, 2015

Laser pointer incidents with airplanes on the rise

Channel 2's Aaron Diamant reports

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            Laser pointer incidents with airplanes on the rise
It bathes the aircraft in a green light, and if it hits a pilot's eye it can be very dangerous,” said Capt. Rick Dominquez, Executive Administrator for the Airline Pilots Association.

            Laser pointer incidents with airplanes on the rise
Diamant discovered pilots have reported 35 laser pointer incidents in Metro Atlanta so far this year compared to 46 all of last year. Nationally, the numbers are up, too. FAA reports 4024 incidents so far this year compared to 3895 in 2014.

By Aaron Diamant

WSB-TV-Atlanta

ATLANTA —

An airline passenger said he was temporarily blinded earlier this week by a laser pointer aimed at his plane as it landed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The number of similar reports received by the Federal Aviation Administration is soaring. FAA reports 4,024 such incidents so far this year compared to 3,895 in 2014.

"It was definitely terrifying," Delta Air Lines passenger Scott Reynolds said.

Reynolds described over Skype from Virginia what happened to him minutes before his flight from West Palm Beach landed Wednesday night in Atlanta.

"A green light hit my left eye, and I jumped, because when a green light blinds you, at first, you think the engine blew up or something outside your window happened," Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the green light flashed him a second time.

"At that point, I knew it was a laser or something from the ground, and then I looked down and I could see the green laser moving around," Reynolds said.

It's illegal to shine laser pointers at planes.

"It bathes the aircraft in a green light, and if it hits a pilot's eye it can be very dangerous,” said Capt. Rick Dominquez, executive administrator of the Air Line Pilots Association.

"Delta is in touch with the FAA on this episode and will do everything it can to assist the FAA and other authorities to investigate and apprehend perpetrators," a Delta spokesperson said in an email.

Anyone who gets caught aiming a laser pointer at a plane could face a federal fine as high as $11,000. Congress is considering legislation that would make it a criminal offense.

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