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.
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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