NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The FBI has assigned its Joint Terrorism Task Force to lead its probe of laser attacks on the cockpits of two planes approaching LaGuardia Airport this week, inviting help from the public as well to fight a growing threat.
The FBI said Friday a reward is available for anyone providing information leading to arrests in the Tuesday attacks.
The FBI said the first attack occurred when a Shuttle America cockpit was illuminated by a green laser on its final approach to LaGuardia at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday. The FBI said the crew reported that the laser originated about a half mile west of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
The second incident occurred three hours later when a private aircraft reported a green laser two miles southwest of LaGuardia.
The two recent attacks brings the total for the year to 54 at LaGuardia alone, WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell reported.
“Laser pointers can be extremely destructive,” said CBS News aviation and transportation safety analyst Mark Rosenker, also a former head of the NTSB. “They don’t realize that the actual beam itself can be magnified going through the cockpit glass.”
“People that are using these devices in an inappropriate way don’t really understand the implications and the dangers that they’re doing when shining these devices into a cockpit,” Rosenker added.
The FAA has reported a 17 percent increase in laser attacks for the year in the New York area, Haskell reported.
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