The FBI, in coordination with the United States Air Force (USAF), is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) responsible for a laser strike on an aircraft approaching the Savannah Air National Guard Base on March 9, 2021.
On that date at approximately 9:50 p.m., a United States Air Force aircraft was deliberately struck by a high-powered laser for about one minute.
The laser caused temporary eye damage to a member of the flight crew and put the entire crew at risk.
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Investigators believe the laser strike originated from an area northeast of Vidalia, Georgia (see maps).
When aimed at an aircraft, a beam of light from a laser can travel more than a mile and illuminate a cockpit, disorienting and temporarily blinding pilots.
It’s a serious matter and a federal felony to knowingly point the beam of a laser at an aircraft.
Federal investigators in Georgia have been active in prosecuting people for using lasers.
For example, in 2020, a Rincon man was indicted for aiming a laser pointer at three separate airplanes in 2019 and 2020. In August 2020, a Savannah man was indicted for aiming a laser pointer at a Chatham County police helicopter. Neither man has yet gone to trial.
Anyone with information about the laser strike on March 9, 2021, is asked to contact FBI Atlanta at 770-216-3000 or go to tips.fbi.gov.
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