KEY WEST, Fla. – Local 10 had exclusive access to the motorized glider piloted by two Cuban migrants on Saturday that landed at Key West International Airport.
The aircraft, also referred to as an ultralight, is on airport property where a member of the Federal Aviation Administration was seen taking photos Wednesday afternoon.
Part of the propeller is broken and an extra fuel drum was seen strapped to the underside of the glider.
David Lopez Alfonso and Ismael Hernandez Chirino are currently at the Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, after having been processed by U.S. Border Patrol in Marathon.
U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar confirmed that the men will be sent back to Cuba.
#Update: Both individuals were interviewed, processed for removal proceedings, and detained by ICE. The aircraft will be seized by federal authorities.— Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar (@USBPChiefMIP) March 30, 2023
After airport staff and Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the runway to respond to the landing, the men reportedly told them they were more afraid to be in Cuba than in the air for the two-hour flight to the Florida Keys.
Cuban state-run media reports the glider belongs to the Aviation Club of Cuba and is used for tourism. They are denouncing the act and calling it a theft. A post on the club’s Facebook page called for the men to be punished and for a return of the aircraft.