The Slatest

Six More Aircraft Reported Laser Flashes Thursday Night After 20 Were Targeted Wednesday

A laser flash as seen from an NBC news helicopter in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. The men suspected of pointing the laser were subsequently arrested when the chopper reported their location to police.

Screenshot/NBC 4

Six aircraft across the U.S. were targeted by laser pointers overnight Thursday, NBC reports, one night after 20 similar incidents were reported in 16 cities. Though widespread, the incidents don’t seem to be coordinated; among the individuals arrested after the incidents were a 15-year-old in Pomona, California, and two dopes standing behind a health food store in Brooklyn. (There’s no real point to shining a laser at a plane besides novelty and the fact that you might temporarily blind its pilot. It’s like throwing pebbles off an overpass.)


Per the Federal Aviation Administration more than 5,300 laser targeting incidents have been reported so far this year, or about 17 per day—a number that makes for an interesting story in itself, as it indicates that the level of activity in the past two days is not especially unusual. Laser targeting was specifically declared a crime in 2012, though interfering with an aircraft’s operations has always been illegal. Although “lasing” is not known to have actually caused any crashes, the penalties for getting caught doing it can be quite severe.

Among the cities where Wednesday and Thursday night’s incidents took place were Phoenix; L.A., Sacramento, Oakland, Ontario, and Palm Springs, California; St. Petersburg, Florida; Springfield, Illinois; Covington and Danville, Kentucky; Detroit; Albuquerque, New Mexico; New York City and Jamestown, New York; Dallas; Salt Lake City; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.