MIAMI -- Authorities in South Florida planned to resume the search Friday morning for a man who reportedly fell into the ocean from a small plane.
The call for help came Thursday afternoon, when the pilot of a Piper PA 46 aircraft radioed “mayday, mayday, mayday,” and told an air traffic controller that a door was ajar and a passenger had fallen from the plane.
Crews from U.S. Coast Guard, Miami-Dade Police and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue searched into the evening. It wasn’t clear Friday morning which agencies would resume the search.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the call came at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The plane was flying at about 2,000 feet when the call came in.
Crews began searching an area about eight miles southeast of Tamiami Executive Airport, south of Miami, where the plane safely landed. It wasn’t immediately clear where the flight originated or how many people were on board.
Police spokesman Javier Baez says they have no evidence of foul play, and are gathering as much evidence as possible.
Both the Coast Guard and fire rescue officials say they had not determined if the call was legitimate.
According to a report on the website Live ATC.Net, the unidentified pilot calmly radioed the air traffic controller. LiveATC.Net provides live air traffic-control broadcasts from control towers and radar facilities around the world.
“I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down. I’m six miles from Tamiami,” the pilot says.
“You said you’ve got a passenger that fell out of your plane?” the air traffic controller responds.
“That’s correct, sir,” the pilot responds. “He opened the back door and he just fell out the plane.”