(CMR) A Cuban pilot defected to Florida on Friday in a stolen government aircraft and managed to sneak through a highly surveilled US coastline.
The pilot, identified as Ruben Martinez, flew an ancient Russian Antonov An-2 single-engine biplane at wavetop level before landing at Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport in the Everglades.
“The pilot of the plane notified the Miami-Dade County tower at TNT Airport that he was low on fuel and had to land there minutes before he landed,” Greg Chin, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s communications director, told Local 10 news.
Martinez, who told airport staff that he was a defector from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, reportedly left El Cedro, Cuba at 7 a.m. and headed for Florida.
The aircraft is owned by a Cuban company called ENSA, which is a subsidiary of the government’s Cuban Aviation Corporation. It normally supplies crop-dusting aircraft but recently began carrying cargo.
Martinez is being held by Customs officials.