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Imagine landing at Orlando International Airport, and not being able to taxi to the gate, due to an alligator crossing the runway. That’s what happened Monday night for one Spirit Airlines flight that arrived from Baltimore.
The alligator safely made his way across the runway and back into the water, but this could have been a lot worst, had an actual plane been landing with a gator on the runway.
Per the Orlando Sentinel,
Passengers on a flight from Baltimore got an only-in-Florida greeting at Orlando International Airport early Monday when an alligator was spotted lumbering across the runway.
According to passenger Anthony Velardi, the gator’s trek prompted an in-flight announcement from the pilot on the Spirit Airlines flight, which landed about 8:30 a.m., informing those on the plane that they’d have to wait for the critter to finish its crossing.
Velardi posted video on Facebook which shows the gator moving at a steady pace across the runway and toward a pond nearby.
“It was definitely unexpected but as a Floridian not surprising,” Velardi said.
Spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell noted the airport covers about 14,000 acres, including more than 200 acres covered in water, so encounters with wildlife are bound to occur. The airport has a biologist and a wildlife team on staff, she said.
Still, a sighting like the one Monday “does not happen often,” Fennell said.
“Obviously, it’s a protected species, so it has the right of way,” she said.