PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - A frantic 911 call from the girlfriend of a pilot on board a small plane captured her growing concerns as the hours passed without hearing from him. Crews later found the wrecked aircraft deep in the Everglades.
The girlfriend of 51-year-old Mohamed Badenjki dialed 911 from California, Wednesday morning. Authorities believe the victim’s single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk had already gone down in West Broward.
“Ma’am, do you know what the plane number was?” asked the dispatcher.
That call triggered the search for Badenjki.
“He was flying last night. He has not made contact, which is very unusual,” said Badenjki’s girlfriend, who was in California on a work trip.
She told the dispatcher that Badenjki was traveling with another pilot, later identified as 37-year-old Khadim Kebe.
Investigators said both men took off from North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines at around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, heading west over the Everglades into Weston.
“He texted me a picture that it was really dark when they were flying back, that he couldn’t see anything and that they were using the instruments,” Badenjki’s girlfriend told the dispatcher.
She said that Badenjki texted her at 6:43 p.m.
Investigators said the plane went down shortly after. A mayday call was never made.
No one knew Badenjki and Kebe were in trouble until this call to 911.
“I want to text the airport that the plane made it back, just to check that the plane didn’t fall and they’re somewhere,” Badenjki’s girlfriend told the dispatcher.
The two victims left A.T.A. Flight School at North Perry and never returned.
Officials found the still smoldering aircraft within 16 hours after the initial takeoff.
“I called, and his phone is off, and he has not told me that he has landed, and he hasn’t contacted me since then, which is very unusual,” Badenjki’s girlfriend told the dispatcher. “He always calls me when he lands because he calls me from home, calls me good night, he calls me when he wakes up, so I’m concerned. I want to know if he made it back.”
Badenjki and Kebe would never make it back, and now investigators look for clues as to what brought the plane down.
Both of the victims; families are currently planning funerals, as the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate.
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