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Man arrested for pointing laser at SeaTac Airport planes

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Laser pointers are a troubling trend that government officials say can disorient and temporarily blind pilots.

BURIEN, Wash. — A 29-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after pointing a green laser at inbound flights at SeaTac Airport and a helicopter, the sheriff’s office said.

About 9:30 p.m., several pilots reported that an un-authorized green laser was being pointed at them. They believed it was coming from the Burien transit center area.

A King County Sheriff’s helicopter flew past the area to investigate and within minutes of arriving a man standing at the bus stop pointed a laser at them, authorities said.

Deputies on the ground quickly arrested him.

The sheriff’s office said the man admitted to showing a friend his new laser and “accidentally shining the laser near the airport.”  He also admitted to purposely shining it at the King County helicopter but “didn’t think it was a big deal”.

The man faces felony charges of unlawful discharge of a laser.

The laser caused a brief interruption of SeaTac Airport flight duties and prevented pilots from looking outside the aircraft. Visible laser light causes distraction or temporary flash blindness to a pilot, during a critical phase of flight such as landing or takeoff.

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