Lasers Hit Jets

Published: November 13, 2015

Lasers Hit Jets, Three pilots reported their planes being hit by a laser beam about 11 miles southeast of Dallas on Wednesday night, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Lynn Lunsford, the FAA spokesman, said that between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m., three planes — including a Southwest Airlines 737 and a private business jet — reported being hit by the laser beam, coming from the same general direction, as they were flying into Dallas Love Field.

Initial reports suggested a Virgin America flight was also affected, but its pilots reported no such incidents in Dallas, spokesman David Arnold said.

The planes were flying at altitudes between 3,000 and 4,000 feet when the incidents occurred, the FAA said.

The FAA and Dallas police are investigating. Police dispatched their helicopter to search for the source of the laser, but “no suspects were located,” a DPD spokeswoman said Thursday morning.

In February 2012, it became a federal crime to interfere with the operation of an aircraft. According to the FBI, the offense is punishable by up to 20 years behind bars a $250,000 fine. In 2014, the FBI announced that it will pay up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone aiming a laser at an aircraft.

In July, 23-year-old Austin Lawrence Siferd of Alvarado was jailed after authorities say he shined a green laser pointer into the cockpits of several jetliners, as well as the helicopters that were sent to look for him.

A few weeks before Siferd’s arrest, a man from Garland was sentenced to eight months for laser-lighting-up a DPS chopper in 2013.

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