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FAA investigating after green laser strikes two JetBlue flights and helicopter near Boston

A JetBlue airplane is shown at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

A helicopter crew reported being struck by a laser as they landed at a Boston hospital Thursday night, hours after two commercial airplanes were reportedly targeted by a laser as they approached Logan International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA said the helicopter crew reported being “illuminated” by a green laser beam about 8 p.m. Thursday. No injuries were reported. The agency is investigating.

WCVB-TV reported the helicopter was a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk that was conducting a training flight at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In response to a Globe inquiry, the Coast Guard confirmed it was their helicopter but did not release further information.


Hours earlier Thursday, the crews on JetBlue flights 494 and 972 reported to the FAA that they were struck by a green laser while approaching Logan airport, according to the agency. No injuries were reported.

JetBlue 494 from Denver landed at the airport at 5:38 a.m., and JetBlue 972 from San Jose, California, landed at 5:49 a.m., according to tracking site FlightAware.

Both flights followed a similar path as they approached the airport within several minutes of each other, according to a map on FlightAware.Both flights came from the west and passed north of Boston before cutting south toward Braintree and Brockton, where they looped back to face north and flew straight to Logan airport.

The FAA warned of the dangers of shining a laser at an airplane, which is a violation of federal law.

“Aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety hazard that puts everyone on the plane and on the ground below at risk,” the FAA said in a statement.“To combat the threat, the FAA asked laser manufacturers to add a warning label to their packaging to make consumers aware of the safety risks and federal laws when using lasers.”


Pilots reported 9,500 laser “strikes” to the FAA last year, and 278 pilots have reported injuries from lasers since 2010, when they began tracking data, the agency said. There were 1,175 reports of laser strikes in August, the highest for a single month, according to the FAA’s data.

Twelve laser strikes in Massachusetts have been reported to the FAA this year as of the end August, according to the data. New Hampshire had the highest number of reported strikes in New England this year with 73 as of the end of August, according to the data. Second in New England was Rhode Island with 19.

Anyone who shines a laser at an airplane could face a fine from the FAA of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple incidents, the FAA said. In 2021, the agency issued $120,000 in fines for laser strikes.

JetBlue did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Nick Stoico can be reached at Follow him @NickStoico.