Queens, NY - March 29th, 2014 - On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, Delta Flight 1102 was heading northbound toward LaGuardia Airport at a few minutes before 8 p.m. The flight was on a landing approach to the airport and reported a green laser beam that entered the cockpit twice. The laser beam appeared to originate from Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, Queens. One of the two pilots was injured, the laser causing flash blindness and severely disrupting his vision. The pilot continued to experience pain in his right eye for some time.
“Laser incidents are often viewed as harmless. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos. “Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers, and we are asking anyone who knows anything to contact us.” Many of the New York laser incidents have injured pilots and their crews. Two of the most recent injuries include:
- January 25, 2014: On approach to LaGuardia Airport, a United Airlines pilot experienced flash blindness and mild irritation for a few days after. The laser beam originated from Staten Island.
- December 26, 2013: On approach to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, a JetBlue pilot experienced blurry vision for over a week after being temporarily blinded by a laser.
- In an effort to raise public awareness about the issue, the FBI launched a targeted regional reward program in February, which will run for 60 days in 12 FBI field offices.
Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 212-384-1000. A $10,000 reward is available for information that leads to the arrest of anyone involved in these incidents. Tipsters may remain anonymous. The investigation is being led by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, composed of more than 50 local, state, and federal agencies.