CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The FAA says an American Airlines flight departing Charlotte-Douglas International Airport was hit by a laser Sunday night.
The crew reported that a green laser illuminated the aircraft when it was at an altitude of 10,000 feet and 15 miles east-southeast of the airport.
The FAA says there were no injuries and the flight continued on to its Miami, Florida, destination. But the incident highlights the growing number of laser reports across the country.
From 2011 to 2014, there was an average of more than 3,700 reports. In 2015 that number nearly doubled to 7,346 reports. So far this year, the FAA says there’s been more than 4,339 laser incidents reported nationally.
At Charlotte-Douglas, the FAA says 37 reports have been filed through August 20, 2016. This latest incident brings the number to 38.
“Probably won’t stop me from flying, but will definitely make me think about safety,” said Suzann Voss, who had just stepped off her flight at Charlotte-Douglas on Tuesday.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, handheld lasers can travel more than a mile and can disorient and temporarily blind pilots. They say those who have experienced lasers in the sky say it’s equivalent to a camera flash going off in a pitch black car at night.
The FAA says they are investigating this latest incident and that they’ve notified the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Shining a laser into an aircraft is a federal crime and can carry five years in jail and/or a $250,000 fine.
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