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      Green lasers hinder Coast Guard pilots at beach

      MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) -- Authorities say green lasers have twice caused problems for Coast Guard pilots trying to rescue stranded boaters off the Grand Strand.

      The lasers have become a popular item at Myrtle Beach this year, but authorities say they can damage the eyes of pilots, especially when they are wearing night vision goggles. Twice this month the lasers have caused pilots to delay rescues.

      Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says anyone who hinders a pilot with the lasers can face fines of up to $11,000.

      North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says the city banned the green lasers last year. He says they have an intense light that can travel up to 3 miles.

      The boaters were rescued after the Coast Guard pilots were able to return to the area.

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