Plane hits man on riding lawnmower

TAYLORSVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Authorities say a 74-year-old man mowing the grass at the Taylorsville Airport has lost his hand after his lawn mower was struck by a landing plane.

Investigators said the pilot didn't see John Rufty's lawn mower until just before he struck it Saturday afternoon on the grass landing strip in Alexander County.

The crash flipped both the lawn mower and the plane. Authorities say the pilot wasn't injured, but Rufty and his severed hand were taken to a hospital in Winston-Salem.

Officials say pilots are supposed to circle the field to make sure it is clear before landing. Authorities say the pilot appeared to do that, but did not see the lawn mower.

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