KEY WEST, Fla. — A pair of Cuban migrants flew a motorized hang glider from the communist island to Key West on Saturday, authorities said.
According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Adam Linhardt, the aircraft navigated the approximately 90 miles from Cuba to Key West International Airport at about 10:30 a.m. EDT, WPLG-TV reported.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said that the duo landed safely and was turned over to U.S. Border Patrol officers, according to The Associated Press.
𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐅𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚:— Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar (@USBPChiefMIP) March 25, 2023
Two Cuban migrants were taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody after landing at the Key West International Airport onboard a powered hang glider. No reported injuries. We appreciate the support from @mcsonews.#Breaking #Saturday #KeyWest #Cuba pic.twitter.com/KqqFlYqie1
“I actually heard it first. I heard that glider in the air (and) I heard the motor,” Christopher Herrera told WPLG. “I actually looked up because it shouldn’t be where it was, that’s in the path of Key West Airport.”
Pilot Nick Pontecorvo told the television station that he saw the glider from the air.
“It was pretty awesome, Pontecorvo told WPLG. “To make that flight 90 miles over open ocean, especially with the wind, that takes a lot of courage.”
No injuries were reported, according to WTVJ.
Border Patrol officials in South Florida did not answer a telephone call on Saturday seeking comment, according to the AP.
“There were no interruptions in service and operations continue as normal,” Richard Strickland, the director of airports, said in a statement released by Key West International Airport, according to the Miami Herald.
A defector flew a Soviet-era biplane from Cuba and landed it safely at an isolated airstrip in the Everglades west of Miami on Oct. 21.
The pilot was identified as Ruben Martinez Machado, WPLG reported. He was granted asylum, his attorneys said last month.