WASHINGTON (CNN) — Four flights over the New York metro area reported Tuesday being illuminated by lasers, continuing a troubling trend that government officials say can disorient and temporarily blind pilots.
The Federal Aviation Administration alerted law enforcement about the laser strikes, which happened Tuesday night between 9:25 p.m. and 12:10 a.m.
Thirty-four commercial flights were illuminated along the East Coast last Wednesday and Tuesday.
The number of laser strikes has jumped sharply in the last decade, with the FAA reporting 3,894 strikes in 2014, up from 283 in 2005. The powerful handheld lasers have the ability to temporarily blind pilots and have sometimes left pilots in the hospital.
A California man was given a 14-year prison sentence last year after pointing a laser at a police helicopter.