Reporter, Florida pilot killed in Mexico plane crash
Fred Cabanas, Jorge Lopez Vives killed in small plane crash on Mexican island of Cozumel
A Florida-based pilot and a Mexican television sports reporter have been killed in the crash of a small plane on the Caribbean island of Cozumel.
Mexico's Communications and Transport Department says U.S.-licensed pilot Fred Cabanas died in the crash. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration listed an address in Key West, Florida for Cabanas.
Cabanas, 60, was a fourth generation Key West native who often took visitors flying above the Florida Keys. He took Local 10's Todd Tongen for a ride prior to the Fort Lauderdale Air & Sea Show in 2003.
According to published reports, Cabanas wasn't flying his custom-built Pitt special bi-plane when he crashed.
"It is so nimble and fast. The control movements on the aircraft on the stick. It feels like a Ferrari. That's what they call it, the Ferrari in the sky," Cabanas said at the time.
In 1991, Cabanas spotted a Russian MiG-23 above Key West and alerted authorities about the defecting pilot. Afterward, the mayor named him general of the fictitious Conch Republic Air Force.
Cabanas' signature stunt was flying low to the ground at 150 mph and then flipping upside down and cutting a ribbon stretched between two poles.
With 43 years of flying experience and over 25,000 hours in the pilot seat, Cabanas was considered an elite stunt pilot and that is where he was most comfortable.
"I am totally relaxed. When I drive in your Miami traffic, I am horrified," he told Tongen in 2003.
Television sports reporter killed in crash
Also killed in the Tuesday crash was the only other person aboard, television reporter Jorge Lopez Vives.
Vives worked for the Televisa and TDN televison networks. Televisa listed Lopez Vives' age as 44 and said he covered extreme sports.
In a report on its web site, Televisa said he was working with Cabanas taping footage of a stunt flight for a TDN program whose title translates as "Extreme Adrenaline."
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