The Charlotte Observer
A student pilot was practicing landing a small plane when he said a gunshot hit the aircraft’s gas tank in Massachusetts, according to WCVB.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot “reported a bullet hole in the gas tank” in the single-engine Cessna 172 after landing at Gardner Municipal Airport on Monday, April 25, according to a statement sent to McClatchy News.
While the plane was still roughly 700 feet in the air, Dan Black and his flight instructor heard a popping sound followed by the scent of gasoline, he told Boston 25.
“We saw that fuel was coming out of our wings, so we knew we had an issue with the left tank,” Black told the outlet. “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.”
Massachusetts State Police are investigating the incident, according to the FAA.
McClatchy News has contacted state authorities for comment.
“It’s insane. It’s extremely scary and disturbing that someone would shoot at an airplane randomly in the sky,” Gardner Aviation Services owner Dominic Scalera told CBS Boston.
Airport maintenance told WCVB that the bullet pierced three layers of metal before entering the gas tank, but state police weren’t yet able to confirm a bullet caused the damage to the plane, as of April 26.
“Whoever did this is an idiot,” Scalera told the outlet. “It’s pretty simple. You do not, if you know gun safety at all, you do not shoot at an animal unless you have a license and are going to eat it and you do not randomly shoot a gun you shoot at a target. That is the safe way to handle a gun and this is not safe.”