Police, fire and rescue teams and the U.S. Coast Guard resumed their search Friday for a passenger who a pilot said fell from a small-single engine plane 2,000 feet above the Atlantic as it headed into Miami.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot radioed air traffic controllers that a passenger had fallen from an open door of his Piper PA 46 airplane around 1:30 p.m. as he was about 8 miles southeast of Tamiami Airport. The pilot landed without incident.
The search, hampered by bad weather Thursday, was focused on Biscayne Bay.
Both the Coast Guard and fire rescue officials say they have not determined if the call was legitimate, but there was no doubt that it was dramatic:
Pilot: “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I have a door ajar and I’m heading toward Tamiami …”
Pilot: “I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down….”
Air traffic controller: “You said you’ve got a passenger that fell out of your plane?”
Pilot: “That’s correct, sir. He opened the backdoor and he just fell down the plane.”
The pilot speaks calmly with a strong Hispanic accent during the ordeal. The website LiveATC.Net recorded the exchange between pilot and air traffic control.
Miami-Dade police spokesman Javier Baez said the pilot was very cooperative, but would not release his name Baez says they have no evidence of foul play.
There was also no indication as to the identification of the purported victim, other than being an adult male.
The aircraft is registered to to Wings of Flight out of South Miami-Dade, the Miami Herald reports. It was not immediately clear where the plane departed from en route to Miami.
Category: National News