A small airplane was found in the Everglades, along with the body of a pilot, after the plane had gone missing, Wednesday night, WSVN reported.
According to Miami-Dade Police, they received a call from the owner of Dean International Flight School regarding the missing plane at 10:19 p.m., Wednesday, and dispatched an Air Rescue unit. The Cessna 152 single-engine airplane was later found at 1:58 a.m., Thursday, in an area seven miles west of Homestead General Aviation.
Â 7Skyforce HD hovered above the mangled aircraft. The pilotâs body lay on the grass several feet away. It is believed the dead pilot was Nigerian, Mark Ukaere.
Ukaereâs roommates said he is a licensed pilot working on an an advanced certification. He has been missing since Saturday night.
According to Robert Dean, the owner of the flight school, the pilot took off without permission at 8:50 p.m.Â âThe individual was qualified to fly the aircraft, but he broke every single company policy,âÂ he said.
Dean said they conducted their own search before contacting the FBI and local authorities, Wednesday morning.âIn our minds, we thought that he had already taken off, and he was doing whatâs called a solo cross country,âÂ he said.Â âSunday went by. People went looking for the aircraft but could not find it, and then Tuesday was the holiday, the Fourth of July.â
Moreover, Dean said, Ukaere was not supposed to be flying in the dark without a co-pilot.Â âHe took off, and he went to whatâs basically called âthe black hole,’â he said. âItâs completely pitch dark there. You really donât know whether youâre right side up or upside down.â
A trainer at the school said flying solo should only come after years of experience.Â âYou take your time, you log your hours, but those hours do not really guarantee the right experience or the right to control the aircraft,âÂ he said.Â âSome people get it in 20, some people get it in 60. So it is really sad, but it is not discouraging at all because it is motivation to investigate that occurrence â what happened, what was the effect of it and to learn from it.â
In the case of this weekâs Everglades crash, Dean said, by the time the pilot realized he was in trouble, it was too late.Â âFlying in a âblack hole,â the plane spirals down and crashes straight in,âÂ he said.
The downed Cessna is the same plane that made an emergency landing on Tamiami Trail in Collier County, back in December 2015. The pilot was not hurt.
While crews work to recover the aircraftâs remains from a remote, hard-to-reach area, the flight school is dealing with the loss of a pilot.Â âItâs horrible,âÂ said Dean.Â âHe was a very nice person, was friendly with everybody up here, but you know, he didnât follow the rules.â
The flight school has yet to release an official statement. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
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