A Cuban government plane was diverted to South Florida this Friday after its pilot, identified as Ruben Martinez, 29, arrived at the Tate-Collier training airport in Ochopee, west of the county. The pilot said he flew from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.
Miami International Airport officials said the Antonov An-2 single-engine plane landed at Tate-Collier Training and Transition Airport around 11:30 a.m.
“Besides being very anxious and worried, at least the news that I know is that he’s here. If I’m here, I know he’s alive and that’s all that matters to me,” said his mother, Elisa Machado. A Cuban pilot.
Machado said he did not know his son’s motive. “He must have been almost crazy to do what he did, and in the end it was too far … in the end it was a small plane, it wasn’t a plane,” he said.
The airport is located on the Tamiami Trail in the middle of the Everglades.
The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP, for short in English) said its agents arrived at the airport to investigate.
Until now, little is known about how Martinez made the trip, but upon arrival, state security agents on the island reportedly went to his mother’s home in Santa Clara, Cuba, to question him.
“Music ninja. Analyst. Typical coffee lover. Travel evangelist. Proud explorer.”