This is just a really weird story. Has a bit of alien-abduction paranoia undertones, and I detect notes of terroism-fear and something not too common these days: In-Search-Of. The afternote is a lingering, soft taste of Tylenol Tampering.
FBI investigating laser beam directed into airplane cockpit
LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, December 30, 2004
(12-30) 10:43 PST WASHINGTON (AP) --
The FBI, concerned that terrorists could use lasers as weapons, is investigating why laser beams were directed into the cockpits of commercial airliners six times over the last four days.
A federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said that the bureau is looking into one incident in Cleveland, two in Colorado Springs, Colo., and three others. The official said there is no evidence of a plot or terrorist activity.
A memo sent to law enforcement agencies recently by the FBI and the Homeland Security Department says there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons. Authorities said there is no specific intelligence indicating al-Qaida or other groups might use lasers in the United States.
It's a federal felony to interfere with flight crews. Laser beams can distract or temporarily blind a pilot.
On Monday, a laser beam was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet flying about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport at an altitude of between 8,500 and 10,000 feet, the FBI said.
The pilot landed the plane, and air traffic controllers used radar to determine the laser came from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights.
On Monday night in Colorado Springs, two pilots reported green pulsating laser lights beamed into their cockpits. Both planes landed without problems.
Police sent patrol cars and a helicopter in a fruitless search. FBI agents were continuing to conduct interviews, agency spokeswoman Monique Kelso said.
In September a pilot for Delta Air Lines reported an eye injury from a laser beam shone into the cockpit during a landing approach in Salt Lake City. The plane landed safely.