A WestJet pilot flying from Newfoundland to Orlando International Airport had his eyes burned by a green laser light, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officials said Wednesday.
Spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said that the WestJet Airlines aircraft was about 40 kilometres from the airport when the laser light hit the pilot. The flight landed safely a short time later, and the pilot was placed on medical leave.
The airline said in a statement that the incident took place Saturday but gave few details, citing privacy concerns.
“Any pilot who reports being struck by a laser is required for safety and health reasons to have an ophthalmology evaluation,” spokeswoman Morgan Bell said.
Bell said laser incidents pose a “serious concern” for crew and aircraft safety and are immediately reported to local authorities for investigation.
The FAA is investigating the incident. The agency said it had notified the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, which sent a deputy to a central Florida address pinpointed as a possible source of the light.