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Aircraft in 10 states were affected by laser pointing

Laser strikes are on the rise, according to the FAA

CNN  — 

More than 20 aircraft were struck by lasers from the ground Wednesday night, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Strikes were reported in 10 states as well as in Puerto Rico, the FAA said. Aircraft flying over major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas were among those affected.

While no pilots reported injuries, pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime, signed into law in 2012.

“Lasers distract pilots from their safety duties and can lead to temporary blindness during critical phases of flight, such as takeoff and landing. In some cases in the past, pilots have reported eye injuries that required medical treatment,” the FAA said.

As handheld lasers are becoming more common, such incidents of laser-pointing have been on the rise. As of October 16, the total number of laser strikes in the United States this year was 5,352, the FAA said. Last year, there were 3,894, and in 2005, there were 283.

The helicopter of CNN affiliate WABC was among the aircraft hit by a laser. Video from the affiliate shows a conspicuous green laser glaring at the chopper.

CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.