Miami-Dade County

Pilot found dead after plane crashes in the Everglades

The waters of the Everglades are shown in this file photo.
The waters of the Everglades are shown in this file photo. cjuste@miamiherald.com

A pilot was killed after the Cessna 152 single-engine plane he was flying was found crashed deep in the Everglades Wednesday night, authorities said.

A Miami-Dade Fire Rescue air unit first spotted the plane wreckage around 9:30 p.m. with a body alongside the debris, police spokesman Argemis Colome said. Fire Rescue then alerted Miami-Dade police around 10:20 p.m. Because of the aircraft’s location and the swampy conditions, authorities decided to wait to get out to the scene, he said.

The crash is “so far into the Everglades that they might have to take airboats,” said Colome. The pilot’s body was recovered Thursday afternoon, according to the National Park Service.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash happened about seven miles west of Homestead, and that the pilot was the only person on the plane.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the plane’s owner notified the agency Wednesday night that it had disappeared Saturday evening. The FAA then issued an alert notice for the plane, triggering the search that found the crashed aircraft.

The plane had been housed at Miami Executive Airport before it disappeared, Colome said. A plane registration number provided by the National Transportation Safety Board showed the plane’s registered owner was Air Christian Inc., and several news outlets reported that the aircraft was part of Dean International Flight School.

Colome said Thursday morning that officers were still investigating when the plane had taken off. The pilot’s identity was not released.

The FAA is investigating the crash, and the NTSB sent an investigator to the scene to determine what caused the aircraft to go down.

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