ORLANDO, Fla. — Only in Florida: A pilot fatally struck an alligator last week while landing a plane at Orlando Executive Airport.
The pilot said his plane hit the gator, but he wouldn't provide further details because he said the Federal Aviation Administration is still investigating the incident.
Another pilot, Brad Pierce, posted a photo on Facebook, calling the incident "one of the craziest things I've ever seen in all my years in aviation."
Pierce said in the post, which has been shared almost 2,000 times, that a pilot was crossing a runway when an 11-foot gator jumped up and struck the wing of his Navajo as he was landing.
"The gator was killed instantly, and the aircraft sustained damage to the wing," Pierce said.
Eyewitness News has since learned the pilot is Rick Crose, a pilot in Orlando.
The wing of the Piper P-A31 was damaged by the gator when it hit the plane. The pilot was not hurt.
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The airport is bordered by Lake Underhill and Lake Barton.
A spokesperson for the airport told Eyewitness News that Crose was landing on Runway-7 at night when he noticed a large object in the center line. As he touched down, he hit the gator.
"I've never seen one on a taxi way or a runway. GOAA does a really nice job of ensuring there is a nice harmony and balance between nature and man and the machines that are out there. So it is insane. It is absolutely crazy to see something like this," Pierce said.
Cox Media Group