Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
MIAMI (AP) — Miami-Dade police said Saturday they believe they've found the body of the Florida man who fell almost 2,000 feet from a small plane just after takeoff.
"Even though we presume that the body found is that of Gerardo Nales, investigators are pending 'official identification' from the Medical Examiner's Office," Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said in a statement, CNN noted, adding that the body was discovered at 10:30 a.m. in a mangrove — an area where trees grow among bodies of water.
Miami-Dade Police Department confirmed Friday the man who fell from the plane on Thursday as 42-year-old Gerardo Nales of Key Biscayne, an island southeast of Miami not far from where he fell.
Police said Nales either jumped or fell from the Piper airplane shortly after takeoff. The pilot was the only other person on board.
The pilot radioed a mayday call to air traffic controllers saying a door was ajar and a passenger had fallen from the plane. The plane returned safely to Tamiami Executive Airport south of Miami.
FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the call came at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. CNN reports the altitude was 1,800 feet.
Baez said investigators have no evidence of foul play, and are gathering as much evidence as possible.
Both the Coast Guard and fire rescue officials said initially they tried to determine 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."
Here's a report from CNN that precedes the discovery of the body: