FBI probe over laser strikes at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport

7 February 2016 (Last Updated February 7th, 2016 18:30)

Several instances of laser lights distracting passenger airplanes bound for Ohio’s Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has led to an FBI investigation.

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Several instances of laser lights distracting passenger airplanes bound for Ohio's Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has led to an FBI investigation.

Since last December, the laser strikes have occurred at least 24 times, reported Fox News.

The FBI has been entrusted with the task of investigating into the cases following similar complaints last week.

These laser strikes are believed to have come from west of Cleveland, while the latest strikes have come from the Cleveland-Lakewood border near Lake Erie.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson told Cleveland Plain Dealer that one of the two pilots struck by laser light last week reported of witnessing a green laser light emanating from about eight miles from the airport.

"On each of these occurrences, the pilots have reported that the laser caused them difficulty with concentrating."

Cleveland FBI official Vicki Anderson was quoted by WKYC-TV as saying: "On each of these occurrences, the pilots have reported that the laser caused them difficulty with concentrating.

"It can cause them flash blindness, it can cause them to have some spotty looks, you know when you shine a light in your eyes you can see spots afterwards.

"And of course it distracts them, sometimes it has disoriented them."

According to Anderson, these laser flashes can force the pilots to divert their airplanes, which could lead to fatal crashes.

"It hasn't happened in our area as far as pilots having to divert their flights but in other areas it has happened because of laser strikes and thank goodness there's been no catastrophic crashes but it is concerning," added Anderson.

Flashing laser beams at airplanes is a punishable offence.


Image: Laser beams distract pilots landing at the Cleveland Airport. Photo: courtesy of Kevin Payravi.