Broward County

Miami Beach surgeon dies in Everglades plane crash

A Mount Sinai surgeon died after the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed just off U.S. 27 in West Broward, officials said Monday.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Mount Sinai Medical Center confirmed the death of Dr. Michael Russin, an orthopedic surgeon affiliated with the medical center, the sole occupant in the plane.

“All of us at Mount Sinai Medical Center are deeply saddened by the unfortunate passing of Dr. Michael Russin. Michael enjoyed life and the practice of medicine. He and his family have a legacy of caring for patients at Mount Sinai. He and his twin brother, David, treated patients at our medical center for decades, and their father was once our chief of orthopedics. Michael will be missed by the entire Mount Sinai family. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and wish them comfort during this time,” the statement said.

Russin was piloting a RV-7 experimental plane heading to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport when he crashed at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, a half-hour after leaving Boca Raton Airport. The wreckage was found about 25 miles southwest of Boca Raton Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA and National Transportation and Safety Board are investigating the cause of the accident.

Civil Air Patrol, an all-volunteer auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, found the wreckage in the Everglades, east of U.S. 27 and 7 miles north of Alligator Alley (Interstate 75) around 6:50 a.m. Broward Sheriff’s Office Marine and Fire Rescue units went to the plane to confirm the pilot’s death but took hours to retrieve Russin’s body, which was trapped under the wreckage.

“It’s the Everglades, so it’s inaccessible by vehicle,” Broward Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said. “It’s swamp, it’s sawgrass; there are animals. However, it’s nothing new or foreign to us, especially our Everglades airboaters.”

Co-workers began sharing selfies with Russin in surgical attire on Facebook after learning about his death.

“My condolences to his family,” Arthur Pizzazz Malary wrote on Facebook. “Great man and surgeon.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal