NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are investigating after a small, familiar airplane crashed in the Everglades in Northwest Miami-Dade with two people on board.
The aircraft bears a striking resemblance to a plane that was flown from Cuba to South Florida last month.
“This is the craziest end to a historical landing of a Cuban aircraft in America– ever,” said Marshall Jones, who owns Mack’s Fish Camp, nearby.
According to Miami-Dade Police, their Aviation Unit was conducting aerial patrol when they observed a small airplane crash into the swamp about 10 miles west of Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, at around 1:30 p.m., Monday.
The plane went down near Mack’s Fish Camp – Gladesmen Airboat Tours, not far from the county line.
So how does that same plane end up here, just shy of a month later and 47 miles from where it originally landed?
“The exact spot where the plane is upside down is just ankle deep soft mucky terrain,” said Jones. “This part of the Everglades is like the Bermuda Triangle of small plane crashes, and it seems to have been the Bermuda Triangle of small plane crashes yet again.”
Rescue crews arrived at the scene to find the plane upside down. The bottom center area of the aircraft appeared to be damaged.
Investigators said the pilot and the passenger were able to get out of the aircraft safely, as they waited for assistance. They were not injured.
“First and foremost how in the heck did they get it to get in the air in the first place,” said Jones. “This plane is a relic.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft was an Antonov An-2, similar to one that landed in the Everglades after a 29-year-old pilot flew it from Cuba back in October.
The pilot, who was the only person on board, touched down at the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport.
A fisherman off Islamorada recorded cellphone video of the plane flying very low.
Back in October, authorities said the pilot radioed in saying he was low on fuel and needed to land.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents later took him into custody.
7News believes the plane the Cuban national was piloting is the same plane that crashed on Monday. Its tail numbers match the ones on the plane that flew in last month.
However, authorities have not confirmed it is the same plane.
It is likely authorities were moving the plane when the crash happened. 7News has reached out to authorities for more information.
Jones took us on a ride in one of his airboats, getting as close as he could to the area where the plane crashed.
“My family’s lived on this land for 97 years. We know it like the back of our hand,” he said.
We spotted two Miami-Dade Police officers.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
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