Hundreds gather for ‘plane pull’ to benefit the Special Olympics

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CLEVELAND - If you looked out at one section of Hopkins International Airport on Saturday morning, you'd be forgiven for thinking your eyes were deceiving you.

Yes, those were groups of people pulling a plane at the end of a thick rope. The groups of twenty participants pulled the plane as far as they could in ten seconds.

And not any small plane, but a 737 jet weighing well in excess of 100,000 pounds.

And, yes, there is just one obvious question: why?

"It's a family event," says Fred Szabo, the airport's Interim Director, "and it benefits the Special Olympics."

In fact, last year alone, the 'plane pull' raised $68,000 for Special Olympics.

The Cleveland Division of Police has had a team participate since the event started seven years ago.

"First year, it was a little shocking how heavy it was," says Capt. Keith Sulzer.

This year, the police team won its division.

Capt. Suzler says the 'plane pull' serves several purposes, as it it helps link the police to the community at an event that helps Special Olympians.

Director Szabo says the airport is grateful to United Airlines for allowing the use of one of its planes, and he says the fact that the event benefits Special Olympics makes it all the better.

"We are proud to be a partner with them," he says.