Police believe they've found man who fell from plane

Pilot told air traffic controller Gerardo Nales fell out of Piper PA 46 aircraft

By Glenna Milberg - Reporter , Ben Candea , David Lang - Executive Producer

MIAMI - The Miami-Dade Police Department believes it has found a man who fell from an airplane southeast of Miami on Thursday.

Miami-Dade police found a body in the mangrove area just south of Southwest 184 Street, ocean side.

Police said they presume the body is 42-year-old Gerardo Nales, however, investigators are pending "official identification" from the Medical Examiner's Office.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen says the call came at 1:30 p.m. Thursday from the pilot of a Piper PA 46 aircraft. The plane was flying at about 2,000 feet when the pilot radioed in, she said.

"Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I have a door ajar and I'm heading to Tamiami," the pilot told an air traffic controller in a transmission obtained from LiveATC.net. "I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down. I am six miles from Tamiami."

"You said you had a passenger that fell out of your plane?" asked the air traffic controller.

"That's correct, sir. He opened the back door and he just fall [sic] out of the plane," the pilot replied.

Listen: Transmission

Dean's Flight School identified the pilot as Felipe Fons, saying he attended flight school and completed his training just recently. The plane is registered to Wings of Flight, LLC.

Coast Guard and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue air and water units searched an area about eight miles southeast of Tamiami Executive Airport, south of Miami, where the plane safely landed. They expanded recovery efforts from Haulover Beach south to Turkey Point on Friday morning.

The flight originated from Tamiami Executive Airport. Investigators said the pilot was the only other individual on board.

According to an email from FAA spokeswoman Bergen, the pilot radioed air traffic controllers at Miami Terminal Radar Approach Control, which provides radar for flights within a 55-mile radius of Miami International Airport. The control center then notified the U.S. Coast Guard.

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