Pilot Says Passenger Fell From Small Plane Into Ocean: FAA

In the mayday call to air traffic control, the pilot said: "I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell out. I am six miles from Tamiami."

Rescue crews searched waters off Key Biscayne on Thursday after a man reportedly fell out of a private plane with no parachute about 2,000 feet into the ocean.

The pilot told air traffic controllers that a passenger fell from the Piper PA46 about eight miles southeast of Tamiami Airport, about one mile offshore, at around 1:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue along with the U.S. Coast Guard launched planes, helicopters and rescue boats, hoping to locate the man. The effort was set to resume Friday morning.

The plane landed safely at Tamiami Airport Thursday afternoon, the FAA said.

Miami-Dade Police sent homicide detectives to the airport to further investigate, said spokesman Javier Baez. Police have not indicated any evidence of foul play, however. And the pilot was very cooperative with the investigation, said Lt. John Jenkins.

"We're still gathering as many facts as we can," Baez said.

In the mayday call to air traffic controllers posted on the website LiveATC.net, the pilot said: "I have a door ajar, and a passenger that fell down. I am six miles from Tamiami."

A little later in the exchange, the air traffic controller asks: "So you said you had a passenger who fell out of your plane?" 

"That is correct, sir. He opened the back door, and he just fall down the plane," the pilot said.

The pilot had contacted FAA air traffic controllers at Miami Terminal Radar Approach Control, which provides radar service to flights that are within a 55-mile radius of Miami International Airport. The control center then notified the Coast Guard.

"The FAA notified the U.S. Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Search and Rescue," the FAA said.

The Coast Guard searched an area two miles southeast off Key Biscayne by air and sea, including with a small boat. They stopped searching about 7 p.m. when it got too dark.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue had three marine units and two planes.

Anyone with information regarding the possible person in the water should call the Coast Guard via VHF marine radio channel 16 or by calling 911.

More on NBC6.com:

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us