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More than 20 aircraft struck by lasers this week

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Posted at 2:45 PM, Nov 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-13 14:45:52-05

More than 20 aircraft were struck by lasers from the ground Wednesday night, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Strikes were reported in 10 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Ontario, Canada, said the FAA. Aircraft flying over major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas were among those affected.

While no pilots reported injuries, pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime, signed into law in 2012. “Lasers distract pilots from their safety duties and can lead to temporary blindness during critical phases of flight, such as takeoff and landing. In some cases in the past, pilots have reported eye injuries that required medical treatment,” the FAA said.

As handheld lasers are becoming more common, such incidents of laser-pointing have been on the rise. As of October 16, the total number of laser strikes in the United States this year was 5,352, said the FAA. Last year, there were 3,894, and in 2005, there were only 283.

The helicopter of CNN affiliate WABC was one of the aircraft hit by a laser earlier this week. Video from the affiliate shows a conspicuous green laser glaring at the chopper.