FBI investigating laser pointed at plane

July 18, 2012 at 4:43 PM
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NEW YORK, July 18 (UPI) -- The FBI and police on Long Island were trying to determine who pointed a powerful laser beam at an airliner flying into New York, injuring a JetBlue pilot.

The first officer on JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse was treated for injuries to both eyes after the beam lit up the cockpit of the plane on its way to New York's JFK Airport Sunday, the New York Post reported.

The Embraer E190 jet landed safely, and the injured pilot -- identified by sources as First Officer Robert Pemberton, 52 -- was taken to Jamaica Hospital.

The plane had 84 people on board at the time.

Authorities say they believe the beam came from the West Islip, Babylon or Lindenhurst areas of Long Island.

The flight had taken off from Syracuse about 8:15 p.m. after a delay because of weather and was on its final approach to JFK when two beams of bright green light entered the cabin.

The Post said the captain, who was not identified, took over the controls from Pemberton, who was temporarily blinded.

"We just got lasered up here -- two green flashes into the cockpit," the captain radioed controllers.

"It caught the first officer's eye -- two green flashes, and it caught the first officer in the eye," the captain said, the Web site LiveATC.net reported.

Sources said Pemberton's eyesight wasn't permanently damaged, the Post reported.

The FBI asks that anyone with information call 212-384-1000.

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