An alligator crossing delayed the arrival of a Spirit Airlines flight by five minutes while it waddled to a nearby pond.
Alligators aren’t exactly uncommon in Florida. The ancient lizard beasts have been known to terrorize golf courses and backyard swimming pools, and while human attacks are rare they’re also not unheard of.
They used to be an endangered species, but intensive conservation since the ‘60s and ‘70s has allowed populations to rebound to the point where they’re more of a nuisance than ever before.
Take this interloping gator, for example. At Orlando International Airport a gator held up a Spirit Airlines flight for five minutes while it waddled across the tarmac. Anthony Velardi was a passenger on that flight and managed to snag a few seconds of video footage while the majestic beast lumbered across the pavement.
Only in Florida... a gator held up our Spirit Airlines plane crossing the runway at MCO on the way home from DC. 🐊 follow @Horizonless_Nomad (Horizonless Nomad) on Instagram for more travel adventures ✈️Posted by Anthony Velardi on Monday, June 11, 2018
Never has there been a more graceful creature.
The pilot even came on to inform passengers of the reason for the delay. "Believe it or not there is a gator on the runway and we are waiting for it to cross."
Luckily the Spirit Airlines flight was landing and not taking off, otherwise that would’ve been a real pain in the teeth of Orlando’s air traffic controllers. Even still, a five-minute alligator delay is not likely to sit well with either them or the passengers on the flight.
An airport truck later came out to ensure the alligator was safely ensconced in the pond and not showing any signs of wanting to run across the runway. Alligators aren’t known to be particularly swift or attracted to jet fuel, but it’s still possible to suck one through an engine if they get close enough.
Speaking to the Associated Free Press, Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said that alligator sightings are relatively rare despite the fact that Orlando International is essentially located in a swamp. About 280 acres of airport land is under water, she noted.