A man was charged with using a laser pointer that injured three pilots from two different aircraft: two police officers flying in a helicopter and the co-pilot of a commercial Air Canada flight that was leaving LaGuardia Airport.
The three pilots who suffered eye injuries sought treatment at hospitals and were released, said a Wall Street Journal report.
Frank Egan was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, three counts of felony assault, two counts of menacing a police officer and three counts each of reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.
Police recovered a laser from Egan’s apartment and, during questioning, the suspect admitted to detectives that he used the laser Monday evening and that he had purchased it from a store in Florida about a month ago for $50, the Journal said.
Lasers being pointed at aircraft have become a growing problem. Federal officials say the number of laser incidents involving aircraft has jumped from 311 in 2005 to 3,960 in 2013. In the New York area, the number of reported laser incidents has nearly doubled from 52 in 2010 to 99 in 2013, according to the FBI’s New York field office.