By WECT Staff | May 20, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT – Updated May 20 at 7:44 PM
PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – A pilot reported that a laser was aimed at him during a flight in Pender County back in early April.
The incident occurred in the Rocky Point area around 9:45 p.m. on Monday, April 5, according to a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In an audio clip posted to YouTube, the pilot of a single-engine Cessna 172 told an official at Wilmington International Airport (ILM) that a purple laser was pointed at him as he was nearing Heide Trask High School, which is located off N.C. 210.
The pilot said the laser was pointed at him for approximately 5-7 seconds as he did “a steep turn to try and get away from where it was shining from.” He said the laser followed him as he maneuvered away from it, hitting the plane again but this time for about three seconds.
The pilot circled over the high school in the area where he believed the laser strikes came from and noted to the ILM official that there were about four or five cars parked in the school’s southwest parking lot at the time.
“It’d be right over our current location right now,” the pilot said. “Looks like they’re driving away now.”
No injuries were reported.
A spokesperson for the Pender County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy and a trooper with the N.C. Highway Patrol responded to the high school but did not locate anyone.
A spokesperson for Pender County Schools declined to comment on the incident.
The agency said pointing a laser at an aircraft poses a serious safety risk to a pilot and violates federal law.
“The FAA works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against people who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft,” the agency said.
The FAA can impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.
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