Authorities are investigating after a bullet hole was found in a plane at Gardner Municipal Airport on Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot of a single-engine Cessna 172 reported a bullet hole in the gas tank after landing.
The pilot tells Boston 25 he was two minutes away from landing and about 700 feet in the air when the bullet went through, hitting the fuel tank. Student pilot Dan Black says he and his instructor were practicing landing in the four-seater single-engine plane when they heard a pop and then smelled fuel.
“Once we started to smell the fuel, we knew something was going on,” said Black. “But we didn’t think it was a bullet. We saw that fuel was coming out of our wings, so we knew we had an issue with the left tank. And we parked the plane and dumped all the fuel out into buckets. And then during that process, we noticed there was a hole in the wing.”
The two left Worcester Airport around noon Monday and landed uninjured at Gardner Aviation Services.
“It went all the way through the wing and stopped here in the bottom side of the fuel tank,” said Gardner Aviation Services owner Dominic Scalera.
Templeton Police, the Worcester District Attorney and the FAA are investigating where the shot came from, but the owner here says it’ll be hard to tell.
“It’s insane. To be shooting a gun at random things, and not a target or an animal, is pure stupidity,” said Scalera. “It could’ve exploded if something went wrong on landing. A couple of inches lower, they could hit the pilot.”
“I don’t know who would want to shoot an airplane, so I would like to hope it was unintentional and just an accident, but I have no idea,” said Black.
Scalera says as soon as they patch the hole in the plane and fix the fuel tank, the plane will be right back up in the air.
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