Officials Investigate Case of Laser Aimed at Airliner in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The FBI and other federal officials were investigating an incident Sunday in which a laser beam hit a regional jet after it left Nashville International Airport bound for Chicago, authorities said.

Pilots of United Airlines Flight 7136 heading to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport reported seeing a green laser beam while the jet was in flight, said United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski.

The flight, which had about 30 people on board, landed safely in Chicago with no problems, she said.

The FBI said it's investigating the incident along with the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration, but FBI officials would not comment further.

This is the latest in a string involving laser beams aimed at aircraft across the country. Federal agents are looking into similar incidents involving lasers and aircraft, including cases in Cleveland, Washington, Houston, Colorado Springs, Colo., Medford, Ore., and New Jersey.

In the northern New Jersey case, the pilot of a corporate jet first reported seeing green lasers on Wednesday as he came in to Teterboro Airport for landing. A police helicopter for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey flew over the area Friday to investigate, and also saw the lasers.

Laser beams can temporarily blind or disorient pilots and possibly cause a plane to crash.

Federal law enforcement officials have said there is no evidence of a terrorist plot involving the laser beams, though last month the FBI and the Homeland Security Department sent a memo to law enforcement agencies saying there is evidence that terrorists have explored using lasers as weapons.