BALTIMORE (WJZ) –Planes from across the country are continuing to be hit with laser beams and it’s prompting officials to question why the dangerous trend is picking up across the country.
The most recent reports come just a week after 34 commercial flights were hit in New York and in New Jersey.
Tracey Leong has more.
There were warnings overnight Tuesday from Air Traffic Control after planes reported being shot at with a blinding green light. All five planes were flying over the New York area. That same evening, eight commercial airlines in Texas were diverted after being targeted by green lasers.
“A laser strike could debilitate the flight crew, causing a catastrophic accident and loss of life,” said Mike Deruggiero, Maryland State Police Aviation Command.
Deruggiero says laser attacks can temporarily blind a pilot.
23-year-old Austin Sieferd has been arrested for the Texas incidents. Authorities say Sieferd turned over his green laser to deputies, admitting he pointed it at aircraft but didn’t realize it would hit the planes.
These attacks happened less than a week after 34 commercial flights were hit in New York and New Jersey by laser beams.
These laser strikes concern travelers.
“Childish,” said one. “And I find it to be really, really mean and cruel to do, especially nowadays with everybody worried about terrorist attacks.”
Officials say it’s unclear if the attacks are connected or why this scary trend is picking up across the country.
“A new group of kids growing up getting their hands on lasers might be part of the problem or it very well could be deliberate,” Deruggiero said.
No injuries have been reported as a result of these laser attacks.
Pointing a laser at aircraft is considered a federal crime. The crime carries a maximum of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.