A WestJet pilot flying from Newfoundland to Orlando International Airport had his eyes burned by a green laser light, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officials said Wednesday.
The laser light hit the pilot when the aircraft was about 40 kilometers from the airport. The flight landed safely. The FAA is investigating the incident. Laser incidents pose a "serious concern" for crew and aircraft safety and are immediately reported to local authorities for investigation. Last year, the Canadian government announced strict new measures to ban most high-powered lasers around airports and in the country's three largest cities. Penalties for those convicted of deliberately targeting aircraft include fines of up to $100,000, five years in prison, or both. Transport Canada reported 379 incidents of lasers pointed at planes in 2017, especially in Ontario and Quebec areas.
A 5 mW laser could cause eye damage. The heat energy is enough to burn the eye, expert say. It can permanently damage the retina. Light from lasers maintains its energy even over long distances. The most common symptom that someone will experience from getting hit in the eye with a laser pointer is being flash blinded. Headaches, watery eyes, spotty vision and pain also occur. Permanent damages of retina are dangerous and absoltely require medical treatment.