VIDEO: Laser pointed at United Airlines flight from Tel Aviv at SFO
The international flight arriving around 5:55 a.m. when it was targeted by a laser as the Boeing 787 jetliner was at 600 feet on its final approach at San Francisco International Airport. The aircraft landed safely on Runway 28-R after a 15-hour flight from Tel Aviv.
San Francisco Police interviewed the flight crew, but no other details have been made available. The airport's spokesman referred all inquires to the FAA.
Laser incidents pose a risk of sight impairment to pilots at a critical stage of descent or ascent. The FAA reports they occurred last year at an average rate of 18.5 times daily nationally. The three Bay Area airports had 252 laser strikes in 2017. Mineta San Jose International had the most at 114. Oakland International was second at 75. San Francisco International had 63.
The FAA does not track arrests or convictions. Investigations are normally handled, an agency spokesman said, by local police and sometimes by the FBI.
Laser pointers and other laser devices are readily available at retail stores. ABC7 News found an assortment of them for sale at an electronics store in San Jose, priced from $15 to $67. Most claimed to have a range of 1,500 feet, more than twice the distance that the United aircraft was from the ground.
The transcript of the conversation between UA955 and the air traffic controller can be seen below.
"Yeah, looks like we had some sort of laser activity about 2,000 off the ground on the left hand side."
"Roger, 2,000 feet on... I know you said, off the left hand side?"
"Off the left hand side about 2 miles out."
"What color was the laser?"
"Roger that. Uh looked like it was white."
"Roger a white laser. Was there any injuries?"
David Louie will have more on this developing story on ABC7 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Click here to follow him on Twitter.