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Laser sightings prompt warning from state, federal authorities

LIHU‘E — A series of incidents involving lasers being pointed at aircraft prompted a stern warning from local and federal authorities about the illegal activity.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Honolulu Field Office, Kaua‘i Police Department (KPD) and Maui Police Department (MPD) issued the joint warning because of laser sightings on the Garden Island and Valley Isle.

The agencies noted that pointing a laser at an aircraft, knowingly, is a felony offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A scofflaw can also face an additional sentence up to 20 years for interference with an aircraft.

“Pointing a laser at an aircraft is extremely dangerous and puts the lives of those on the aircraft and on the ground at risk,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill in a statement.

“This action causes an imminent threat to aviation safety with the potential to cause grave danger. It is not a harmless prank, and the FBI, KPD and MPD (take) these incidents very seriously.”

Recent laser sightings have been reported and documented on Kaua‘i, although the locations of those incidents were not disclosed.

There have also been laser sightings in and around Kahului Airport and Kapalua Airport on Maui in the last week. Authorities said pilots landing at airports have experienced a green laser illuminating their aircraft while on approach to land.

Neighborhoods on Maui with reported incidents include Kahalui, Kapalua, Kihei and Nakalele.

“I urge our community to understand the gravity of these actions and the potential consequences they carry,” said MPD Chief John Pelletier.

“Safety is our top priority, and we will not tolerate any actions that jeopardize the well-being of our community and those traveling through our airspace. Let us work together to ensure the safety of our skies and protect our community from harm.”

People who have witnessed someone aiming a laser at an aircraft, or who know something about a laser incident, can call the FBI Honolulu Field Office at 808-566-4300 or 1-800-225-5324 or 911. People can also email the FBI at
Source: The Garden Island

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