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Unclear If Passenger Fell Or Deliberately Jumped From Aircraft Over Key Biscayne
By Jim Douglas

November 15, 2013 - On Thursday a pilot, 47, departed Tamiami Airport (KTMB) located in Miami-Dade County, Florida with a male passenger onboard a PIPER PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage aircraft (N164LD) registered to Wings of Flight. At about 1:30 PM the pilot reported to ATC that his passenger fell from the aircraft. 

The pilot who has been identified as Felipe De Jesus Fons of Coral Gables flew the 2011 piston aircraft offshore of Key Biscayne about 8 miles south of Tamiami Airport at about 2,000 feet had reported to ATC “Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I have a door ajar and I'm heading toward Tamiami. 

“I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down. I'm six miles from Tamiami." ATC responded "You said you've got a passenger that fell out of your plane?" The pilot "That's correct, sir. He opened the backdoor and he just fell out the plane." 


Miami Dade County Air rescue helicopters, along with Coast Guard boats and divers searched between the Cape Florida Lighthouse and Key Biscayne shoreline but did not have any luck locating the passenger, the search was called off at nightfall. On Friday morning the search resumed. The passenger has been identified as 42 year old Gerardo Nales of Key Biscayne. 

Miami Dade County Police spokesman Javier Baez said it was unlikely the man could survive a fall from that height. “We have reports, I want to emphasize that, reports of a passenger of a plane that either jumped or fell several miles out from shore. Homicide at this point is investigating.” 

The pilot spent the afternoon at Tamiami Airport with investigators, Lt. Jenkins said “At this time the pilot is very cooperative with the investigation, he’s been talking to them all afternoon.” Jenkins also said “It’s reasonable, anybody that falls from an aircraft without a parachute turns into a recovery effort and not a search and rescue.”




Detectives are trying to learn what had transpired before that passenger fell from the aircraft. At this time it is unclear if the passenger fell or deliberately jumped from the aircraft and whether the door had been open during flight or if the passenger opened the door just before he exited the aircraft. It is unclear what the pilot meant when he said "I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down." 

Update- On November 16, 203 Miami-Dade police Marine Patrol Units reported they believe they have found the body of Gerardo Nales, in the mangrove area just south of Southwest 184 Street on the ocean side. “Of course we cannot identify him to be the body of Gerardo Nales. We’re waiting for the medical examiner to provide official identification of who this is,” explained Detective Alvaro Zabaleta with Miami-Dade Police. It has been reported Nales was suffering from depression and having family problems.

Early this month, 61 year old Greg McFadden of California opened the door of a Robinson R44 tour helicopter operated by Cardinal Air Services over open water at 500 feet and jumped to his death. McFadden’s brother reported to authorities that his brother suffered from a chronic medical condition (read more).

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