Laser strikes on Oakland flights, CHP helicopter could spark federal charges

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- More lasers were aimed at pilots in aircraft tonight near Oakland airport after four incidents were reported last night in the same area.

A CHP helicopter swept over East Oakland around 98th Avenue and Interstate 880 where there were several reports of a laser pointed at planes, at least one of them from a home.

At 5:30 p.m. a southbound Cessna pilot was hit by a green laser. Ten minutes later, a westbound pilot in a FedEx plane reported they were hit by a laser two miles from Oakland International Airport.

CHP flight officer Shaun Bouyea says they can tell exact GPS coordinates as they zero in on specific homes. They are coordinating with crews on the ground from the sheriff's department and Oakland police. The FAA is already investigating four reports of green lasers aimed at aircraft from along 880 on Monday night.

On Saturday night, a CHP crew was struck by a green laser over a dozen times as they flew over an East Oakland sideshow.

Officer Bouyea said, "It's extremely dangerous. You can cause blindness, temporary blindness, loss of night vision and permanent damage to the eyes of a pilot and it can cause him to lose control of the aircraft."

Pointing a laser at a flight is a federal crime for interfering with an aircraft. The penalty is up to $11,000 per strike. If you see someone pointing a laser at planes or cars, officials recommend calling 911 saying you could save lives.
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