SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced a program aimed at tackling the rising problem of people point lasers at aircraft.
For the next 60 days, the FBI is offering rewards up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone who points a laser at an aircraft.
From 2010 to 2013 the number of incidents jumped from 2,800 to more than 3,900.
Pilot Robert Hamilton recalls one of the five times he’s been hit and temporarily blinded by a laser in the cockpit.
“This is not a harmless prank,” he said.
It’s dangerous at the least, and at worst, he says it could be deadly since most laser incidents happen around takeoff and landing.
“These are periods when pilots are busiest, intently focused on operating safely in congested airspace around airports, and when they can least afford those distractions,” he said.
It’s a federal offense that could get you up to five years in prison and a hefty fine.
The FBI says although there is no laser incident that has resulted in a crash, they’re worried about the threat of it.