MARTINSBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Police are looking for whoever shined a laser into the cockpit of a UPS plane flying over western Pennsylvania, temporarily blinding the pilots.
Authorities say it happened Tuesday night above Blair County. State Police say two pilots on a Philadelphia-bound flight from Pittsburgh were hurt when a green laser illuminated the cockpit.READ MORE: Southwest PA Says No More Launches 'Dear Men' Video Series
The pilots were treated for their injuries at a suburban Philadelphia hospital.
“That can be extremely dangerous, any kind of distraction,” said pilot Earl Maxwell.
Maxwell knows, he’s spent more than 1,500 hours in the cockpit.
And laser pointers are just one of the many dangers he, as a pilot, now faces.
“There’s not difference in shooting a laser and shooting a rifle at a plane,” he said. “You’re creating a hazard.”READ MORE: Pittsburgh International Airport Travelers Affected By Southwest Airlines' 'Technical Issues'
State Police and the FAA are investigating.
And recent reports show the number of laser pointer incidents are on the rise.
In 2006, the FAA reported 384 cases involving laser pointers and aircrafts. That number skyrocketed to nearly 4,000 in 2013.
Dr. James Eadie says green lasers you buy online do more damage to the eye than red ones you buy in the store.
“If the power is higher, even a small exposure can do damage to the retina,” said Eadie.Body Of West Virginia Man Who Disappeared Found In River
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)