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At least 45 flights hit with green lasers around Sea-Tac Airport over last 10 days

The uptick in laser strikes has prompted the Port of Seattle and FAA to ask the public's help in catching the culprits.

Editor's note: The above video on laser strikes near Sea-Tac Airport originally aired February 10, 2022.

SEATAC, Wash. - Another aircraft was reportedly hit by a green laser near Sea-Tac International Airport Thursday on top of the 12 reported Tuesday night, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The latest reports bring the total over the last two weeks to at least 45 incidents.

The FAA has reported a 41% national increase in “lazings” from 2020 to 2021, with Washington ranking the eighth highest for the number of incidents per capita.

Nationally, the FAA received 9,723 laser strike reports in 2021. Through the month of January, there were at least 813 reports, at least 44 of which came from the Seattle area.

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In 2020, Washington saw 196 strikes. However, the number more than doubled to 397 strikes in 2021, according to David Suomi, administrator for the FAA’s Northwest Mountain Region.

The uptick in incidents has prompted the FAA and Port of Seattle to ask for the public’s help in finding the person or persons responsible for shining lasers around Sea-Tac Airport.

Similar to previous nights, almost all of the flights that were hit by lasers Tuesday were within a 3-mile radius of the airport and less than 3,000 feet in the air.

The strikes were reported from 6:18-8:22 p.m. and affected two Delta flights, five Alaska Airlines flights, one Southwest Airlines flight, two Horizon Airlines flights and two Sky West Airlines flights.

An Alaska Airlines flight was the one outlier, reporting a laser strike 34 miles south of the airport while flying at 15,500 feet.

Laser strikes are a serious threat to aviation safety, according to the FAA, and is a felony under both state and federal law. It can lead to an $11,000 civil fine per incident.

Pilots could be disoriented or even blinded by the lasers if they hit the cockpit, with the light able to create a "dazzle" across the plane's windshield, according to Josh Sweeney, a pilot and King County Sheriff’s Office deputy.   

Anyone with information or who may have witnessed someone aiming a laser at a plane is asked to email laserreports@FAA.gov.

The Port of Seattle is asking the public to call 911 if they see anyone pointing lasers at planes.


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