KEY WEST, Fla. – Two Cuban migrants were taken into custody Saturday morning after landing at Key West International Airport on a motorized hang glider, authorities said.
According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt, it happened around 10:30 a.m.
Linhardt said there were no serious injuries reported.
Witnesses told Local 10 News that they heard the motor of the glider before seeing it in the air.
“I actually heard it first. I heard that glider in the air (and) I heard the motor,” said Christopher Herrera. “I actually looked up because it shouldn’t be where it was, that’s in the path of Key West Airport.”
According to Linhardt, airport officials were first to arrive at the scene and then Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies followed.
Authorities said both of the migrants were then turned over to the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol and will be processed at a station in Marathon.
Local pilot Nick Pontecorvo told Local 10 News that he spotted the paraglider from the air.
“It was pretty awesome. To make that flight 90 miles over open ocean, especially with the wind, that takes a lot of courage,” he said.
The landing coming among a historic surge in Cuban migration where thousands are seen making the 90 plus mile journey by sea.
In October, Ruben Martinez Machado landed a plane at the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport in the Everglades on Oct. 21.
The Cuban pilot who made a daring escape from the island on a Soviet-era biplane was granted asylum, he and his attorneys announced last month.
Witnesses of the paragliding migrants were amazed and thankful that the two managed to land safely.
No doubt about it, they were absolutely in the final approach of the major airlines,” said Ferrera. “If there was a plane coming, either they would have to turn or the plane would have to turn.”
Local 10 News obtained cellphone video from a viewer that shows the migrants on the motorized hand glider before preparing to land, which you can watch the video in the tweet below.
DEVELOPING: migrants from Cuba in motorized glider/ultralight arrive in Key West this morning. They’re being processed by Border Patrol agents. More on @WPLGLocal10 at 6pm pic.twitter.com/WevJuC2REE— Janine Stanwood (@JanineStanwood) March 25, 2023
𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐅𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚:— Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar (@USBPChiefMIP) March 25, 2023
Two Cuban migrants were taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody after landing at the Key West International Airport onboard a powered hang glider. No reported injuries. We appreciate the support from @mcsonews.#Breaking #Saturday #KeyWest #Cuba pic.twitter.com/KqqFlYqie1