(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 TSA and Customs and Border Protection are investigating how the plane from the Soviet era was able to sneak through one of the most surveilled coastlines in the country.
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.