Officials: Laser hits pilots, land jet safely

Officials: Laser hits pilots, land jet safely

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The pilot of a JetBlue flight heading from New York City to West Palm Beach said he had to shield his eyes when a green laser was pointed at the plane, authorities said Tuesday.

Flight 521 from LaGuardia to Palm Beach International Airport landed safely on Monday night, a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office statement said.

The plane was about five miles from the airport when the pilot said he say a "very bright, constant green laser enter the cockpit" from the left windshield. He believed he the laser was being pointed intentionally because the person using the laser kept making sweeping movements with the light across the aircraft. The pilot also said he had "to shield his eyes" to be able to land, the statement said. The exposure to the light lasted 20-30 seconds, officials said.

Deputies checked an apartment complex where the light may be come from, authorities said.

The statement said there's been "an ongoing problem" with lasers being pointed at planes landing at the airport. A similar incident was reported on Dec. 1 and Nov. 29. No arrests have been made.

Misusing a laser lighting device is a third degree felony and if the aircraft were to crash, it would be a first degree felony.

"Thankfully they were able to land the jet safely," the sheriff's office statement said of the recent sighitng.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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