BSO: Pilot found dead after discovery of missing single-engine plane

WEST BROWARD, FLA. (WSVN) - A missing small, single-engine plane has been found in West Broward, and officials confirmed the pilot was killed, Monday.

Crews loaded the body of Dr. Michael Russin into a vehicle for transport, Monday afternoon. He was the only person on board.

According to Broward Sheriff’s Office officials, the single-engine plane was reported missing on Sunday night after the pilot’s family members made a concerned phone call to the Federal Aviation Administration fearing the worst.

However, after searching throughout the night, BSO marine unit officials confirmed that the single occupant of the plane had passed away after his family’s RV-7 experimental plane went down.

Officials said the plane left Boca Raton at around 5 p.m. Sunday, headed for Opa-locka, but it crashed in the Everglades about 30 minutes after takeoff.

“The crash site is approximately three miles northeast of where we are,” said Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles. “It’s basically north of I-75, east of U.S. 27 and about 10 miles west of the Sawgrass Expressway in the Everglades.”

The wreck was first spotted by Civil Air Patrol Maj. Art Saluk. He assists law enforcement agencies in emergency situations. “When you see the wreckage, it doesn’t look like an airplane,” he said. “That’s part of it. You look for the patterns that wreckage will cause, and we spotted that fairly quickly.”

Saluk called the location into Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue, and the rescue mission got underway.

Jachles said that crews used heavy tools to remove Russin from the wreckage, but the cause of the crash is still under investigation. “We’re in water, we’re in canals, we’re in lakes. Surface water rescue is one of the things we train for,” he said.

Administrators at Mount Sinai Medical Center confirmed that the pilot was Dr. Michael Russin, an orthopedic surgeon with the medical center.

They released the following statement: “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 experimental plane was located at about 7 a.m., east of U.S. 27 and almost seven miles north of Alligator Alley, officials said. Search crews discovered the mangled wreckage of the plane in the middle of swampland outside of Coral Springs.

The National Transportation Safety Board has taken over the investigation.

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