Doug Stanglin and William W. Welch, USA TODAY
MIAMI - Police on Friday identified the name of a 42-year-old man who jumped or fell from a small-single engine plane at 2,000 feet as the pilot was approaching a Miami area airport, but authorities have not recovered his body.
The victim was identified as Gerardo Nales of Key Biscayne, Fla.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot radioed air traffic controllers that a passenger had fallen from an open door of his Piper PA 46 airplane around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday as he was 8 miles southeast of Tamiami Airport.
The search, hampered by bad weather Thursday, was initially focused on Biscayne Bay but broadened on Friday because of the currents and weather conditions.
The drama was caught on tape as the pilot spoke to air traffic controllers:
- Pilot: "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I have a door ajar and I'm heading toward Tamiami ..."
- Pilot: "I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down...."
- Air traffic controller: "You said you've got a passenger that fell out of your plane?"
- Pilot: "That's correct, sir. He opened the backdoor and he just fell down the plane."
The pilot speaks calmly with a strong Hispanic accent during the ordeal. The website LiveATC.Net recorded the exchange between pilot and air traffic control.
Miami-Dade police spokesman Javier Baez said the pilot was very cooperative, but would not release his name. Baez said the authorities have no evidence of foul play.
The aircraft is registered to to Wings of Flight out of South Miami-Dade, the Miami Herald reports. It was not immediately clear where the plane departed from en route to Miami.
Contributing: Associated Press