Lasers pointed at planes landing at PBIA

By Allison Bybee - bio | email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Someone is shining lasers into the cockpit of planes as they land at the airport. This could cause catastrophic events.

Pilots, flying in and out of Palm Beach International Airport, say they are seeing something dangerous happen. Pilot Ivan Klugman says, "It's a very dangerous and could have the same catastrophic results as a missle or any other projectile fired at an aircraft at low altitude."

Lasers being pointed right in their eye, "It can induce temporary blindness or permanent blindness in some cases."

Pilot Ivan Klugman has seen this for years. Now, local officials are getting serious. Palm Beach County Sheriff's office saying: "If you point a laser at a plane, you are looking at jail time.

"We don't know if these people are malicious in nature or terrorists threat or juveniles thinking that it's funny," said Klugman.

Pilots say it can be from a tiny laser to a larger one, many banned in the U.S., but it's dangerous, and passengers aren't amused. "Anything that impeds our travel safety makes us nervous all of us on edge since 9-11," said passenger Kevin Healey.

Pilots say, if a laser hits them, they are flying blind, and there's' no way to dodge it, "There is basically no training to deal with this it's like being shot with a gun there is nothing to do to train or practice," says Klugman.

Last year, Thomas "TJ" Kiefer was arrested for pointing lasers at PBSO's helicopter. This year, there have been 20 incidents at PBIA. No one has been caught, but deputies and pilots want your help.

If you do this, you are facing a second degree felony. If you see this happening, deputies urge you to call it in to the nearest law enforcement agency or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-458-TIPS.