PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) – Federal authorities are investigating after a commercial Boeing 737 was illuminated by a green laser.
The FAA tells KOIN 6 News the incident happened Friday evening while the airplane was flying westbound, three miles west of Portland International Airport. The green laser hit the aircraft on its right side.
There were no injuries, according to Allen Kenitzer, a spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Port of Portland Police Department was notified of the incident. Kama Simonds, a spokesperson with the Port of Portland said air traffic controllers in Portland advised police dispatch of the incident. Police dispatchers were awaiting a call back from the pilot when the flight arrived at its destination, but the pilot never called to file the report.
Nationally, since 2005 the FBI and FAA report the number of deliberate laser strikes on aircraft by people with handheld lasers has increased by more than 1,100%.
The FBI reports nationally in 2013, there were a total of 3,960 laser strikes reported: an average of almost 11 incidents per day.
FBI agents in Portland investigated 139 strikes in 2013, data released by the FBI states. The laser strikes often happen between midnight and 7 a.m., with the greatest number of strikes occurring between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., the FBI said.
“Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot, jeopardizing the safety of everyone on board,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Feb. 11, 2014.
Anyone with information on the most recent case, or any other laser strike should call the Portland FBI 24-hour tip line at (503) 224-4181.