MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – The pilot of a Cessna who made a successful emergency landing on the sands of Miami Beach is spending Wednesday taking it apart and hauling it away.
That’s easier said than done.
First the fuel has to be drained. Electrical connections will need to be disconnected and then the wings will have to be removed from the fuselage. The plan is to use a crane to put the pieces of the plane on a flatbed truck and drive it away.
“Day two… Just try to resolve the headache,” said pilot Jafet Cordeiro.
He got applause for his emergency landing on the beach where no beachgoers and none of the four people on board were hurt.
“I am removing the wing to try and get it on the bed of a truck,” said Cordeiro. It’s a job he said will take him two hours.
Cordeiro is actually a technician with LAN Airlines. He flies small planes as a hobby. He and his mechanic friends are on the case while tourists have made the landing site into the latest tourist attraction.
“I want to show this to all of my friends in Los Angeles this is the big big thing,” said a tourist at the site.
Cordeiro said he was flying with his friend Edward Blasini, Blasini’s wife and a friend from Vero Beach to Tamiami Airport when something didn’t feel quite right.
“We made a right turn and the engine kind of sputtered a little bit and then it seemed to gain momentum,” said Blasini.
Cordeiro didn’t want to risk the plane going down out of control, so he had Blasini radio air traffic control to tell them he was going to land right on the sand.
“This was fantastic,” said Blasini of Miami. “We didn’t even realize we were in an emergency situation until we landed. This is kind of a bummer to have this happen but it is what it is. Praise God.”
Blasini said he thought the engine “just quit altogether.”
Another passenger, Martha Baptiste, said, “I just thank God with this pilot that we are safe. I didn’t know something was happening.”
Cordeiro landed his plane behind the Arlen Beach condominium complex at 5701 Collins Ave. at 12:20 p.m.
“I saw this empty spot on the beach and I cut power and made sure I wanted to land in this area.”
Blasini said he woke up Wednesday morning with a new appreciation for life.
“Thank God that we landed safely,” said Blasini.
“We thought he was going to land in the water and then he landed in the sand,” said Ozmari Martin who watched the plane land. “He deserves a medal.”
“I was at Collins Avenue and 63rd Street and then I saw him land safely,” said Kelly Savine, another witness. “I was impressed. He was a good pilot. Nobody was hurt.”
The investigation is now in the hands of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
A FAA spokeswoman said it’s not against the law to land a plane on the beach. However, they plan to investigate all the circumstances of the landing to make sure no regulations were violated. If they were, Cordeiro could lose his pilot’s license.
So what’s next for the plane? Friends said once it’s taken apart, it will be taken to the Opa-locka airport for repairs and reassembly so it can fly again.
The good news for Cordeiro is it’s insured, so all of the disassembling, transport and reassembling is covered.