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Officials warn against targeting aircraft with lasers

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Federal and state officials are warning of serious consequences for pointing laser devices at helicopters and airplanes, a continuing problem in southeastern Michigan. U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider says a beam from a hand-held laser can travel more than a mile and illuminate a cockpit, disorienting pilots and even damaging their sight. Officials say some of the assaults are also coming from high-powered, industrial-quality lasers with potential to cause physical harm.

Some Michigan state police pilots have suffered temporary blindness, spotty vision, burns and massive headaches. As of September, 41 laser strikes at aircraft had been reported in Michigan. Targeting aircraft with lasers is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Tips about illegal laser pointing can be reported to the FBI at 313-965-2323.