HUFFINGTON POST

Pope Francis' Plane Hit With A Laser Beam While Landing

The light can potentially blind, disorient and even injure pilots, threatening all passengers aboard.
A plane carrying Pope Francis was hit with a laser beam as it prepared to land in Mexico City on Friday, airline officials sa
A plane carrying Pope Francis was hit with a laser beam as it prepared to land in Mexico City on Friday, airline officials said Wednesday.

Pope Francis' plane was hit with a laser beam as it prepared to land in Mexico City, airline officials announced Wednesday.

The light, which in some cases can disorient, blind and even injure pilots, was flashed as the pope's Airbus A330 approached the Mexican capital's airport Friday, airline Alitalia said in a statement.

"The captain immediately informed the control tower of what he had seen, as per normal procedure," the Italian airline said. "It is up to the control tower to inform the competent authorities."

The plane safely landed and no injuries were reported. It's not clear why news of the incident was withheld until now.

The pope is due to end a five-day visit to Mexico on Wednesday after speaking against the country's gang and drug problems.

After visiting a prison and holding a mass in the Mexican state of Chihuahua he'll fly back to Rome.

In the U.S., it's a federal crime, punishable by prison time, to knowingly point a laser beam at an aircraft. The FBI also offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of any individual who carries out such an offense.

Though the lights may appear small between short distances they become magnified, expanding several feet wide, when given distance. 

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