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(MIAMI) — Florida police have cleared the pilot of a private plane who radioed a “mayday” distress call after his lone passenger opened the door of a single-engine aircraft and fell to his death in Miami’s Biscayne Bay.

“The pilot is cooperating. He has not been charged with anything,” Miami-Dade Police spokeswoman Robin Pinkard told ABC News.

Police and Coast Guard units Friday are, by air and sea, searching for the body of Gerardo Nales, 42, of Key Biscayne, Fla.

The pilot of the Piper PA46 reported the incident around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, while the propeller plane was about a mile offshore and eight miles southeast of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.

“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! I have a door ajar and I’m heading toward Tamiami,” the pilot told air traffic control. “I have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down. I’m six miles from Tamiami,” according to air traffic recordings released by the independent website liveATC.net.

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

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

Cops have yet to name the pilot but told ABC News that he had been interviewed by homicide detectives after returning to Tamiami airport on Thursday. Police would not comment on what if anything Nales said before opening the plane’s door.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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