US authorities have opened an investigation into a flight by a Cuban pilot, who defected to Florida on a Soviet-era single-engine Antonov AN-2 biplane.
The incident happened on October 21, 2022, when a 29-year-old Cuban pilot took off from Sancti Spíritus in central Cuba and then landed at the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport (TNT) located in the middle of the Everglades, in Florida, having declared a fuel emergency.
Speaking to Local 10 News on the day of the incident, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s communications director Greg Chin confirmed that the pilot of the Antonov AN-2 notified the tower that he was low on fuel just a few minutes before the plane touched down on an airstrip at TNT airport.
It later transpired that the single-engine agricultural aircraft, with registration number CU-A1885, is owned by Cuba-based crop-dusting company Empresa Cubana de Servicios Aéreos (ENSA).
The unusual flight was captured on video a witness who was fishing near the Florida straits. The footage, showing the blue and yellow biplane flying low over the water, was shared by the witness on social media.
The pilot reportedly told TNT airport staff his goal was to flee out of Sancti Spiritus.