Local 10 gets an inside look at motorized hang glider that piloted 2 Cuban migrants to Key West airport

Migrants ‘processed for removal proceedings,’ officials say

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.

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.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.