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Laser Beam Pointed at Pope’s Plane at Start of Mexico Visit, Airline Says

  • Reuters

FILE - Pope Francis waves as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino airport on his way to a weeklong trip to Mexico, Feb. 12, 2016.

FILE - Pope Francis waves as he boards an airplane at Rome's Fiumicino airport on his way to a weeklong trip to Mexico, Feb. 12, 2016.

A laser beam was pointed at Pope Francis’ plane as he landed in Mexico City last week but there was no harm to those aboard, Italian airline Alitalia said in a statement Wednesday.

The airline said the plane's crew noticed the laser coming from the ground Friday as the pope was coming in from Cuba and that other arriving planes were involved.

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

It marks the latest in a series of such laser-pointing incidents around the world.

In November, dangerous beams from handheld lasers struck 20 aircraft flying over the United States and its territories overnight, among the nearly 5,400 laser hits up until that point last year, the Federal Aviation Administration has said.

Laser beams can lead to temporary blindness in pilots and, in some cases, pilots have reported eye injuries that required medical treatment.

The pope wraps up his visit to Mexico on Wednesday.

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