Police: Person shot laser at several aircraft from North Amityville schoolyard
Police are searching for someone who shot a laser into the cockpit of several aircraft over Long Island on Wednesday evening.
Both Suffolk County police and the FBI are investigating a green laser that was pointed out of a school yard at the North East Elementary School in North Amityville.
The light was pointed at passing aircraft, causing the Republic Airport Tower to send a warning to pilots in the area around 8 p.m.
At least three aircraft reported being hit by a laser. As Chopper 12 was in route back to the airport, they also had lasered pointed at them multiple times.
The helicopter was able to safely pinpoint the location it was coming from and notify police.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the behavior is extremely dangerous.
The Chopper 12 pilot says the lasers can cause “flash blindness,” as if a flash went off in their face.
“You can get distracted or have like a white-out so you can’t really see,” they say.
The Chopper 12 pilot also says the individual did the action with intent because they did it so many times.
According to the FAA, civil penalties for this behavior range from $11,000 per offense to over $30,000 for people who commit multiple violations.
Nationally, the number of incidents has risen year after year. This year there were 9,456 laser strikes, according to the FAA.
“It is a menace, the flying public is put at risk, anyone that is a passenger is immediately at risk,” says founder of Republic Jet Center Adam Katz. “People have an expectation, and you create a situation that is dangerous.”
Suffolk County police told News 12 when they responded to the field where the laser was coming from, no one was there.