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Thu, Nov 17, 2022

Antonov An-2 Downed in Everglades National Park

The Vicissitudes of Fate

On 14 November 2022 at approximately 13:30 EST, a Cuban-registered Antonov An-2 (File photo, below) crash-landed in Florida’s Everglades National Park approximately 13-nautical miles west of the Opa-Locka Airport (X46). The downed Antonov was discovered during an aerial patrol by the Miami-Dade Police Aviation Unit.

The aircraft—registration CU-A1885—was owned by and bore the livery of Empresa Cubana de Servicios Aéreos, or ENSA. Notwithstanding the large, Soviet-era biplane having been damaged beyond repair, the Antonov’s two occupants emerged from the wreckage uninjured.

Three weeks prior to the 14 November Everglades accident, Cuban national Martinez Machado landed the selfsame Antonov An-2 at the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport (TNT). Machado subsequently informed U.S. Immigration officials that he was a defector from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, and that he’d contacted the TNT control tower after running low on fuel.

Mr. Machado was remanded to the custody of U.S. immigration authorities. The An-2 was held at Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport until 14 November, when pilots contracted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection set about ferrying it to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). Michal Silva, a spokesman for U.S. CPB put forth in a statement that the ferry pilots experienced mechanical difficulties enroute to FLL and attempted an emergency landing on a levy beside a canal. The An-2 departed the levy, however, entered an area of muddy ground, and flipped.

Investigators reported that the Antonov’s two pilots safely egressed the aircraft and were discovered awaiting assistance. The names of both airmen are being withheld by the FAA and NTSB.

The post-COVID era has seen Cubans flee their country in the largest numbers since the 1980s—opting to stake their lives and futures on perilous air, land, and sea journeys to the United States in hopes of escaping socialism’s draconian injustices and abysmal economic realities.

U.S. Governmental data shows Border Patrol officials have had 224,607 encounters with Cuban migrants in 2022 compared to a total of 39,303 in 2021—a 572% increase. The U.S. Coast Guard, too, has seen the number of Cuban migrants interdicted by its personnel skyrocket from 838 in 2121 to 6,182 in 2022—an increase of 738%.

Since 01 October 2022, 1,702 Cubans have been interdicted by Coast Guard officials.

FMI: www.cbp.gov

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