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DULUTH - A rough landing in the harbor off Park Point Tuesday severely damaged a replica airplane that has generated a lot of buzz in the area.
But officials say it was the best-case scenario because no one was hurt.
"In the words of the pilot, he said we had a great takeoff, but not so good of a landing," St. Louis County Undersheriff Dave Phillips said.
It was a sad ending to a flight that was supposed to help re–create history for aviation fans and community members in the Twin Ports.
"It sounds like he had been airborne and was attempting to land the aircraft and was coming in too hot, coming in too fast and had a very hard landing on the water," Phillips said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Lark of Duluth was slowly towed to shore.
The biplane is a replica of a plane that visited Duluth in 1913 and became the world's first airliner.
It was showcased at a festival named in honor of the aircraft this past weekend.
On Friday, one of the owners spoke to FOX 21.
"When we built this airplane our intention was to show Duluthians and the community and the world where we started in aviation," owner and pilot Mark Marino said.
On Tuesday, authorities presumed the aircraft that the owners have been working on for five years was a complete loss.
"Obviously you can tell they're very devastated and you have to temper that too with the fact that he's okay," Phillips said.
No one was injured because the pilot had a chase boat ready in case of trouble to pull him and the boat onto shore.
The Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the incident on Wednesday.