Laser Strikes 2 Jets Landing At SFO, Feds Investigating

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — The FBI is looking into laser strikes that affected two flights arriving at San Francisco International Airport Thursday night.

Officials said the flights included a Virgin America jet arriving from Chicago and a United SkyWest jet from Calgary. Both flights were landing between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Pilots from both flights reported seeing a green flash between the Dumbarton and San Mateo Bridges during the final approach to SFO.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

SFO spokesman Mike McCarron said anything that interferes with air traffic is a federal offense.

“When you have night flights, the pilots darken the cockpit till it’s almost pitch black so they can see outside, the other traffic, runway lighting and all the other things they need to see. It takes about 30 minutes for your eyes to fully adjust to night vision,” McCarron said.

McCarron likened a laser in the pilot’s eyes to the temporary blinding affects of a camera flash, but with the added pressure of being five minutes away from landing a passenger plane at the airport.

No one was injured and flights were not delayed as a result of the laser strikes. McCarron said laser strikes usually occur once or twice a year to arriving flights because the approach parallels the shoreline, making it easy for people to try and track planes.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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