Southwest Airlines scare at RDU, pilot flashed by laser pointer
RALEIGH — The FBI is investigating after a pilot for Southwest Airlines Flight 1957 heading to Raleigh-Durham International reported that a green laser light was aimed at the aircraft.
According to the 911 call, it was believed to be coming from an area five miles northwest of Raleigh near N.C. 147 around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The pilot was not injured and was able to safely land the plane at RDU.
Officials say that when the little laser is pointed in the right spot, it’s like being blinded.
In a video recently released by the FBI illustrates a laser pointer can appear as large as two feet across, completely obscuring a pilot’s vision, or even causing serious damage to the eyes depending on the laser’s strength.
The FBI is once again warning the public about the dangers of what is often simply called “lasering.”
Interfering with the operation of an aircraft has long been a federal crime, but, in 2012, a new law made it a felony to knowingly point a laser beam at a plane or helicopter. Getting caught can result in five years in prison and $11,000 in fines.
The FBI does offer up to $10,000 as a reward for information leading to an arrest in cases like these.