Laser pointers target two military planes in North Carolina, Air Force says

Laser pointers were aimed at military planes in two separate incidents recently in North Carolina, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The lasers were aimed at the planes near Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, officials said.

“Lasers can distract or cause serious injury to pilots who already have several things to monitor while airborne,” Pope Army Airfield flight safety manager Rich Galley said in a press release.

“It can cause vision issues and it puts everyone in danger including flight crew members, passengers, and those on the ground. The person may think it’s funny but the results can be catastrophic,” he said.

Air Force officials said the incidents occurred “several weeks apart and were coming from two different locations.”

The Federal Aviation Administration recorded more than 5,500 cases of lasers aimed at aircraft in the United States last year, according to the Air Force.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.