Florida

Video: Gator caught crossing airport runway; holds up a plane

Gator crossing runway causes flight delay in Orlando

Anthony Velardi published a cellphone video to Facebook showing a gator making its way down a runway in Orlando. According to Velardi, his flight to Washington D.C. was delayed due to the alligator.
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Anthony Velardi published a cellphone video to Facebook showing a gator making its way down a runway in Orlando. According to Velardi, his flight to Washington D.C. was delayed due to the alligator.

An alligator was seen making its way down the runway at Orlando International Airport Monday.

The sighting was posted on Facebook by Anthony Velardi, who was flying home from Washington, D.C. The ten-second video clip shows the gator strutting on the concrete toward a pond.

"Only in Florida... a gator held up our Spirit Airlines plane crossing the runway at MCO on the way home from DC. Just another Horizonless Nomad adventure," Velardi wrote.

Orlando airport officials tweeted that the pilots had to "pause on the taxiway and give right of way to a local resident out for a morning stroll. Passengers caught a rare glimpse of an alligator trudging from one pond to the next."

Velardi told the Miami Herald the pilot told passengers to peek out the window.

"It waddled into the pond like it was no big deal," he said. "Looks like someone had TSA PreCheck."

Though the gator sighting has brought some laughs to many Floridians, Velardi said it also startled him to see one make it on airport property.

"I definitely believe something has been in the water lately," Velardi said. "Florida is always known for some strange stories but lately there have been an influx of gator stories showing up in people’s yards, attacking a woman and spitting out her arm, and now this. I am a native Floridian and even this shocked me to see that an alligator was on the runway preventing us from getting to the gate."

On Friday, a Plantation woman who was walking her dogs was killed when she was dragged into a lake by an alligator.

Earlier last week, a pastor was fatally attacked by a crocodile as he baptized followers at a lake in Ethiopia. And in June 2016, a Nebraska toddler who was visiting Disney World was grabbed and devoured by a gator at one of the resort's lakes.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, there has not been a significant trend in alligator attacks in the past decade. From 1948 to 2017, 401 unprovoked bite incidents have occurred in Florida with 24 of these proving fatal.

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Monique O. Madan, 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan
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