It may be time to do a cost-benefit analysis on the laser pointer. On the one hand, they save us the trouble of actually lifting our arms to point at things, and double as a highly effective cat toy. On the other hand, they can blind pilots and potentially crash commercial flights. On Sunday night, JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse was making its final descent into JFK Airport when the cockpit was lit up by a beam of bright green light coming from the ground. First Officer Robert Pemberton was hit in the eyes and temporarily blinded, but the pilot was able to take over the controls and safely land the plane containing 84 passengers.
Pemberton’s injuries were serious enough that he was hospitalized, but sources tell the Post that his eyesight wasn’t permanently damaged. Laser-related incidents on planes are a surprisingly prevalent problem. In the New York area, pilots reported being hit with blinding lasers 141 times last year. The FBI and Suffolk police are searching for a suspect in the most recent incident. So far they’ve narrowed it down to anyone from the Long Island towns of West Islip, Babylon, or Lindenhurst who had to give a presentation on Monday.