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Jet Crew Blinded With Laser Pointer

The crew of a Boeing 737 from Vladivostok was temporarily blinded with a laser pointer upon landing in Krasnodar late Monday, Itar-Tass reported.

Pilots managed to successfully land the jet, which was carrying 89 passengers, the report said. No injuries were reported.

Police identified the spot where the attack came from, but reported no arrests Tuesday, Livekuban.ru said.

Attacks on planes with laser pointers, which can cause short-term blindness, have skyrocketed in Russia this year, with more than 50 incidents reported, compared with five in 2010.

A bill that passed the first reading in the State Duma in October proposes to step up punishment in such cases to a maximum 10 years in prison. Meanwhile, a teenager in Barnaul was fined 200 rubles ($7) for a similar attack last month.

Most laser pointers on the market are harmless, and only a handful of powerful Chinese imports have the power to cause vision loss, Ivan Kovsh of the Laser Association, which promotes laser technologies, said by telephone Tuesday.

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