Authorities reported that two Cuban migrants arrived at Key West International Airport Saturday in a motorized hang glider.
“I heard it first.” Christopher Herrera of WPLG said that he heard the motor and the glider in the air. Herrera said, “I actually looked up because the glider shouldn’t have been where it was, in front of Key West Airport.”
According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, no serious injuries were reported after the 10:30 a.m. police arrival.
Officials from MCSO stated that the two migrants were handed over to the United States Border Patrol.
According to Richard Strickland, airport director, there were no disruptions in service, and operations “continue as usual,” according to a statement obtained by the Miami Herald.
Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar, the United States Border Patrol Miami Sector, shared photos of the craft via Twitter Saturday.
The USBP’s Miami Sector protects 1,279 miles along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the Sunshine State. It includes six Border Patrol Stations, strategically located and staffed to deal with the current threat in the State of Florida.
𝐓𝐨𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐅𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚:
Two Cuban migrants were taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody after landing at the Key West International Airport onboard a powered hang glider. No reported injuries. We appreciate the support from @mcsonews.#Breaking #Saturday #KeyWest #Cuba pic.twitter.com/KqqFlYqie1
— Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar (@USBPChiefMIP) March 25, 2023
Keys News spoke with Nick Pontecorvo, a seaplane pilot. “I see it coming at me and it seems strange,” Pontecorvo said. “I see it is an ultralight, and it zips by my wing.”
According to WPLG, Pontecorvo called the sight “pretty amazing.” Pontecorvo stated that it takes courage to fly over 90 miles of open ocean.
22.755 Cubans and Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans were released into the country in February 2023. The parole process was established in October for Venezuelans and expanded in January to include additional nationalities, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported on March 15.
CBP reported a 98% decline in encounters with Cubans and Nicaraguans at southwest border ports. This was based on a 7-day average of 1,231 in January, and 46 in February.
CBP reported that 140 Cubans had been seen at their southwest border crossings as of February 23. This figure was 6,053 in January and 42,183 in December 2022.
WPLG reported Monday that the Broward Transitional Centre in Pompano Beach is holding Cuban migrants who arrived via hang glider. The outlet reported that they are currently in a 10-day quarantine at Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach and will be brought before a judge once the quarantine period has expired.
WPLG shared footage of the motorized hang glider in the air as it approached Key West International Airport.
DEVELOPING: migrants from Cuba in motorized glider/ultralight arrive in Key West this morning. They’re being processed by Border Patrol agents. More on @WPLGLocal10 at 6pm pic.twitter.com/WevJuC2REE
— Janine Stanwood (@JanineStanwood) March 25, 2023