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Laser strikes airplane west of St. Louis airport

Laser strikes airplane west of St. Louis airport

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ST. LOUIS • Authorities say an eastbound Frontier Airlines flight was flashed by a laser about midnight near Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Frontier Airlines flight 282 was flashed by a green laser near Wentzville, west of the airport, according to police and a spokesman with the Federal Aviation Administration. The in-bound flight from Denver landed in St. Louis shortly after midnight, records show.

Officials say such laser strikes on aircraft can be extremely disorienting.

Peter Kowalchuk, a spokesman for Frontier Airlines, said the captain of flight 282 confirmed the plane was hit by a green laser. "Neither the plane nor the pilots were affected by the laser," Kowalchuk said.

A police helicopter already flying nearby responded to an area near Interstate 70 where the laser was seen but pilots found nothing, police said.

Sgt. James McWilliams of the St. Louis County Police Department said the FAA and FBI were notified of the incident. He said county police are not investigating.

Rebecca Wu, an FBI spokeswoman, said the agency is not investigating because no one was arrested and no one was hurt.

In July, a Hazelwood man apologized publicly at FBI headquarters in St. Louis for pointing a laser at a police helicopter in April 2010 in O'Fallon. He completed a federal probationary period called pretrial diversion.

On Aug. 3, just a few days after the FBI press conference, a green laser hit a police helicopter flying about 1,500 feet above the Webster Groves area. The pilot's vision was not impaired.

Later that month, the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department said it bought 10 pairs of special glasses designed to block laser beams while still allowing pilots to see their instruments in the dark.

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