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FAA asking public for information on Sea-Tac laser strikes

There have been over two dozen laser strike incidents hitting planes landing and taking off from Sea-Tac airport this week.

SEATAC, Wash. — The Federal Aviation Administration and the Port of Seattle Police are asking for the public’s help to find the person or persons who are shining lasers at planes landing and taking off from Sea-Tac airport.

The FAA reported another six cases on Wednesday night, bringing the total to over two dozen incidents this week.

Laser strikes are a safety issue in the cockpit and can damage pilots' eyesight.

“It’s a very serious safety issue,” said David Suomi, administrator for the FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region based in Des Moines, Washington. “Whenever we can, we investigate –the public can help us a lot by reporting when they see this happening, and we can have local law enforcement investigate. But the numbers across the state and across the country have gone up remarkably. In the state of Washington, we went from 196 in 2020, to 397 last year.” 

Nationally, there's been a 41% increase in laser incident reports in 2021 over 2020, with nearly 10 thousand cases nationwide. Washington ranks as the 8th highest for the number of “lazings” per capita. While some pilot reports of lasers happen several thousand feet up, most are close to the ground. 

The FAA asks the public if they have information or have witnessed someone aim a laser at a plane, to email laserreports@FAA.gov. The Port of Seattle is asking the public to call 911 if they see anybody out pointing lasers at planes.

Using a laser against an aircraft is a felony in both state and federal law and can lead to $11,000 in civil penalties per incident from the FAA. 


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