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Man Who Fell From Plane Identified, Search Continues

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A police body searches for the man who reportedly fell from plane on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (Source: CBS4)

A police body searches for the man who reportedly fell from plane on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013. (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) —The mid-air mystery of a man who fell off a plane has been partially solved. The pilot and the man who fell off the plane were identified today.

By air and by sea,from Haulover beach to Turkey Point, the search continued Friday for the man missing in a bizarre mid-air mystery.

The passenger of this piper aircraft is presumed dead after he somehow fell from the plane and into Biscayne Bay below on Thursday not long after the flight took off from Tamiami Airport.Exactly what happened to the male passenger in the plane remains a mystery.

However, police have identified the man as 42-year-old Gerardo Nales of Key Biscayne.

The pilot of the plane in question lives in Coral Gables. A woman at the home identified the pilot as Felipe De Jesus Fons.

The call for help came Thursday afternoon, when the pilot of a Piper PA 46 aircraft radioed “mayday, mayday, mayday,” and told an air traffic controller that a door was ajar and a passenger had fallen from the plane.

In radio transmissions on the website Live ATC.Net, the unidentified pilot calmly radioed the air traffic controller. LiveATC.Net provides live air traffic-control broadcasts from control towers and radar facilities around the world.

“I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down. I’m six miles from Tamiami,” the pilot said.

“You said you’ve got a passenger that fell out of your plane?” the air traffic controller responded.

“That’s correct, sir,” the pilot responded. “He opened the back door and he just fell out the plane.”

“It’s reasonable, anybody that falls from an aircraft without a parachute turns into a recovery effort and not a search and rescue,” explained Lt. John Jenkins with Miami-Dade Police

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the call came at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The plane was flying at about 2,000 feet when the call came in.

Crews began searching an area about eight miles southeast of Tamiami Executive Airport, south of Miami, where the plane safely landed.

Currently, the search has expanded from the waters off Haulover Beach all the way south to Black Point Marina.

The plane, with some damage to its wing, remains at Tamiami Executive Airport.

Police spokesman Javier Baez said they have no evidence of foul play, and are gathering as much evidence as possible.

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