Preliminary Accident Reports

November 2001 Issue

August 09, Key West, Fla. / Piper Cherokee Six

At about 12:15 eastern time, a Piper PA-32-260 ditched in the Florida Straits about 30 miles southeast from Key West. The pilot escaped but two reported passengers were presumed to have drowned. The flight was operated by a business offering customers a chance to join the “mile-high club.” The pilot said an older Hispanic couple who spoke little English, paid cash and only provided their first names hired the flight. Once the flight was airborne, the male passenger produced a small knife and demanded to be flown to Cuba. The pilot maneuvered aggressively to disorient the man and reversed course toward Key West, but a struggle in the cockpit ensued in which the throttle handle snapped off. Th...

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