OPA-LOCKA, FLA. (WSVN) - The Coast Guard came to the rescue of one person and searched the waters for another after a small cargo plane crashed about 15 miles off the Haulover Inlet.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Convair Conquest Air 504 aircraft landed in the water about 20 miles southeast of Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, at around 12:15 p.m. on Friday.
“It appears it broke up when it hit the water, and parts of it sank,” said U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Gabe Somma.
7Skyforce HD hovered above one of the occupants in a raft near the wreckage of the plane as he waited to be rescued.
Officials said a Coast Guard crew was just nine miles away when the call for help came in.
“The pilots on scene were out on a training mission, happened to be in the area at the right time,” said Somma. “When they got on scene, they observed one survivor in the water waving their arms.”
A Coast Guard helicopter arrived on the scene and hoisted the man in the raft, who was able to climb into the basket on his own.
Once he was safely lifted to the helicopter, he was flown to OPF. Still inside the basket, the man was removed from the aircraft.
The man appeared to have cuts on his forehead and chin. Rescuers placed bandages around his head before he was loaded into another chopper.
“[Crews] coordinated with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to get that survivor over to Jackson Trauma,” said Somma.
A spokesperson for the company the victim works for said he is listed in stable condition.
Loved ones at the hospital identified the pilot as Roland Silva.
The plane Silva was reportedly flying had departed from Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas and was headed to OPF.
Conquest Air released a statement that read in part, “The aircraft was returning from a cargo delivery from Nassau, Bahamas. Our concern is with our flight crew, and we will continue to coordinate with the relevant authorities.”
Federal Aviation Administration and Coast Guard officials said there were two people reported on board the plane.
“When there’s a search-and-rescue case going on, a lot of heads down, pilots and air crews are focused on trying to find a survivor,” said Somma. “Someone’s life is in danger, and we’re looking to find that survivor. It’s difficult to find a person in the water. Essentially, you’re looking for a human head and maybe some arms waving outside of the water, so you’re looking for a basketball floating on the ocean.”
Miami-Dade Air Rescue crews also responded to the scene to assist in the search.
Hours later, the Coast Guard launched a second chopper to assist in the search for the missing crew member.
“We’ll continue searching. We do have good conditions, good daylight hours left behind here, and we’re going to throw everything we’ve got at this,” said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Joseph Messina.
Coast Guard officials searched for the missing crew member overnight.
The search for the missing pilot was eventually suspended, Saturday afternoon.
Authorities have not released the name of the missing pilot.
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