Sky 5

NBC 5 Helicopter Target of 2 Apparent Laser-Pointing Incidents Wednesday

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, pointing a laser at an aircraft "is a serious safety risk and violates federal law."

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NBC 5's helicopter was the target of two apparent laser-pointing incidents early Wednesday while Sky 5 flew to gather footage for the station's morning newscast.

Sky 5's pilot said the helicopter was flying over the Kennedy Expressway at Addison Street when someone pointed what appeared to be a laser at the aircraft. The pilot noticed the light and said the light was then shined at the helicopter a second time.

The second incident was captured on camera. The type of light or laser wasn't immediately known.

NBC 5 has notified the FAA and FBI of the incident.

"A laser strike against an aircraft is a federal felony punishable by five years in prison," a spokeswoman for the Chicago-area FBI said in a statement. "This crime, also known as 'lasing,' can have deadly repercussions, and the FBI takes this criminal act very seriously. When aimed at an aircraft from the ground, light from a handheld laser can travel more than a mile into a cockpit, temporarily blinding and disorienting pilots. Thousands of attacks occur each year, and in recent years the FBI and partners have intensified efforts to address this increasingly common crime."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, pointing a laser at an aircraft "is a serious safety risk and violates federal law."

"The FAA is working with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against individuals who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft," the FAA writes online, noting that high-powered lasers have the ability to "completely incapacitate pilots."

The FAA says laser strikes have increased in recent years, jumping 250% from 2010 to 2017.

In 2011, a man and woman were taken into custody after police said they pointed a laser at a plane near Midway Airport.

In 2015, the FAA launched an investigation after 11 commercial flights reported they were illuminated by lasers while flying over New Jersey.

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