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26 February 2024

Police charge NY man with pointing laser at aircraft


Authorities have charged a man with pointing a laser at aircraft departing and landing at New York's LaGuardia airport, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Frank Egan, 36, arrested at his home in the Bronx late Monday, was charged with several counts, including "directing a laser at an aircraft."

Egan was arrested in the general vicinity where investigators believe the laser was beamed from, about 10 miles (15 kilometers) from the airport.

His arrest followed several incidents in which lasers were directed into the cockpits of commercial aircraft near LaGuardia.

A police helicopter in the same area was targeted by the same green laser, authorities said.

Incidents with lasers that annoy airline pilots are a recurring problem in the New York area, according to the FBI.

Lasers, often used as pointing devices, can temporarily impair a pilot's vision -- and sometimes can damage their eyes -- if pointed at aircraft.

A pilot for Air Canada and two helicopter pilots had to receive hospital treatment for eye damage due to the laser, the criminal complaint said.

The New York area recorded 71 laser incidents last year, down from 99 in 2013, a spokesman for the FBI said Wednesday.

In the first two months of 2015, 31 cases have been recorded.