Broward News

Pilots Say Green Laser Light Is Interfering With Flights at PBIA

Whoever's flashing a green laser light in the dark near Palm Beach International Airport, knock it off. It's messing with flights, multiple pilots report.

And it's a felony to aim a laser pointer at anyone driving a car, vessel, or aircraft.

Authorities are trying to track down the flasher(s), according to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office.

Here are descriptions from police of three recent incidents:

PBSO says:

On 12/9/13, 7:19 pm, the PBIA control tower advised that an unknown person pointed a laser device at Jet Blue Flight 521 from LaGuardia to Palm Beach approximately five miles west of PBIA. Upon my arrival, deputy made contact with the pilot who stated that on final approach, at approximately 1,700 feet, he observed a very bright, constant green laser enter the cockpit from the area of the front left windshield. He believed he was intentionally tracked as the unknown person made sweeping movements with the laser across the aircraft. The duration of the exposure was about 20-30 seconds. The pilot said he had to shield his eyes to continue with the landing procedures. The pilot believed the laser came from the northeast corner of Belvedere Rd and Benoist Farms Road. The area appeared to possibly be an apartment complex. The area was checked by the PBSO Aviation Unit with negative results.

On 12/01/13, at 8:30 pm, deputies were advised of a laser incident by Jet Blue Ground personnel. They explained that the aircraft, Flight 1328, had landed at 7:35 PM. The pilot had to leave to operate another aircraft for an outgoing flight. The cockpit had been struck by the laser light. Also, the laser was witnessed by a passenger and he had left as well. The deputy spoke with the witness by phone, he explained that he is a frequent air traveler at PBIA and recognized the area where the laser originated. When he Google Mapped the area he thought the laser had come from west of SR 7 and south of Southern Blvd. Pilot Albright did not return deputies call.

On 11/29/13, at 11:20 pm, PBSO pilot was flying the Eagle in the area of Hagen Ranch Rd and Lantana Rd when the aircraft was struck by a green laser light. The laser was directed at cockpit from a stationary point twice lasting approximately 5 seconds. The beam was steady and moved across the sky. PBSO Pilot believes the suspect(s) was tracking them with the beam. The beam entered the aircraft on first occasion as the aircraft was eastbound as indicated at the 7 o'clock position off the tail of the aircraft. The pilot turned to attempt location of the beam and as the aircraft was at approximately 270 degrees path the beam again struck the aircraft and entered the cockpit at 11 o'clock position off nose of aircraft. The pilot stated that he was struck in his eyes by the laser from the side, no visual, psychological, or physical effects were caused by the beam. No suspects were located.

Police ask anyone who witnesses someone misusing a laser light to call Crime Stoppers at 800-458-TIPS or text/email

Send story tips to

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Deirdra Funcheon