SEATTLE — There have been 14 laser strikes reported to have hit planes at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in March. There have been 30 incidents since mid-February, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Laser strikes involve a person intentionally pointing a laser at an aircraft, potentially causing pilots to experience flash blindness or obscured vision, endangering the lives of those on the flight.
Shining a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime, punishable by fines up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple incidents.
Between Feb. 17 and March 10, there have been 30 reported laser strikes hitting planes taking off or arriving at Sea-Tac Airport.
During that time period, there were eight different days where laser strikes were reported multiple times, on Feb. 19, Feb. 22, Feb. 24, Feb. 28, March 1, March 4, March 6 and March 7.
On Feb. 22, four flights reported getting hit by laser strikes while south of the airport, although the strikes occurred as far as 26 miles apart over the course of the night. On Feb. 24, Feb. 28 and March 7 multiple flights reported getting hit by airstrikes in approximately the same location.
On most occasions where multiple laser strikes hit flights on the same night, the airplanes were flying in the same direction headed toward, or away from the airport, according to FAA data.
Laser strikes have been on the rise nationally, with an all-time high of 9,723 laser strikes reported by the FAA in 2021. So far in 2022, there have been 1,496 laser strike incidents reported across the country.