Lasers Strike Three Aircraft In The Washington Area In The Space Of Two Days

Pilots in the Seattle, Washington area faced a series of laser strikes. In the span of two days, three different aircraft were targeted with lasers. Thankfully, there were no major injuries.

Alaska Airlines 737 Laser
Lasers struck Boeing 737 pilots in the Seattle Area. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Seattle Laser Strikes

News outlet KREM reported the strikes occurred this past weekend. The first two strikes occurred on Friday. Meanwhile, a third laser strike followed on Sunday.

The first aircraft was a Boeing 737 incoming from Kauai in Hawaii. This incident involved the use of green and white lasers to strike the aircraft. The incident occurred at around 8:00PM local time on Friday, October 25th. Based on data from FlightAware, this would likely have involved a Boeing 737-800 operating for Alaska Airlines as flight ASA832.

Alaska Airlines Boeing
The perpetrator first targeted a Boeing 737 inbound from Hawaii. Photo: Alaska Airlines

The next incident on Friday night involved another Boeing 737 inbound from Salt Lake City.  At around 11:30PM local time, pilots reported a blue laser strike while in the Seattle-area. All was fine until Sunday, October 27th, 2019.

At 7:30PM local time, pilots of a Boeing 737-900 reported a blue laser strike on the left side fo the plane. These last two incidents occurred in the same geographic vicinity, 13 miles and 16 miles southeast of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, respectively.

Boeing 737 Laser Strike
On Sunday night, pilots of a Boeing 737-900 reported a blue laser strike near Seattle. Photo: Boeing

Thankfully, across all three incidents, no one was injured. All of the aforementioned flights were able to proceed as normal.

Who was behind these Seattle laser strikes?

Authorities are investigating these reports. As of writing, authorities have not publicly announced the perpetrator of these strikes. It is unclear exactly how many people were involved in these attacks.

Cockpit
Cockpits and lasers do not mix well– especially during landing. Photo: Boeing

The punishment for such incidents can be quite severe. However, these are justified since lasers do pose a threat to pilots. Temporary blindness of one or both pilots as a result of a laser strike could have devastating consequences. Moreover, some laser strikes can cause permanent eye damage.

Laser strikes elsewhere

Earlier this year, a WestJet pilot suffered injury after sustaining a laser attack near Orlando, Florida. And, near Dulles International Airport, a British Airways Boeing 747 was also targeted with a laser strike. No passengers were harmed in either incident and, in both cases, the aircraft was able to make a safe landing at its destination.

United Airlines, Sustainable Jet Fuel, decarbonising aviation
A British Airways Boeing 747 sustained a laser strike near Dulles International Airport earlier this year. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Overall

Laser strikes can have some severe consequences. Not only could they injure the pilots, but can also have ramifications on the safe operation of aircraft. While these incidents did not result in any reported injuries. they are still serious safety incidents and authorities are likely pushing forward to find a suspect. Anyone who has information on these Seattle-area laser strikes should contact the authorities.

What do you think should be done to prevent more laser strikes from happening? Let us know in the comments!

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