Orlando Executive Airport’s motto reads: “Orlando’s original airport, where nobody lands you closer.”
One alligator put that motto to the test last week when it attacked a plane that was landing, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
According to the report, the gator was struck and killed at 2 a.m. June 1. Eyewitness News identified the pilot as Rick Crose, a pilot in Orlando, reported WFTV. Crose was landing a nightime flight on Runway 7/25 when he noticed a large object resting on the center line. As he touched down, he hit the gator, an airport spokesperson said.
But the strike didn’t go viral until another pilot, Brad Pierce, made a post on Facebook. By Wednesday evening, the post had been shared almost 3,000 times.
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“I was told the pilot was flying a Navajo and the gator jumped up and struck the wing during his landing,” he wrote. “The gator was killed instantly and the aircraft sustained damage to the wing.”
In the post, Pierce says the incident was one of the craziest things he’s ever seen in his career.
The photo shows a massive, 11-foot alligator lying on the airport runway with blood trailing its limp body. According to airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell, the gator weighed in at 500 pounds.
“Welcome to Florida folks!” Pierce wrote.
Both the Orlando International Airport and the executive airport are governed by Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. Located three miles from downtown Orlando, the airport stretches across almost 1,000 acres and borders Lake Underhill and Lake Barton.
It provides 24-hour service to mostly corporate or convention travelers through Sheltair Aviation Services and Atlantic Aviation, according to WFTV.