Everyone knows that the Everglades are a place filled dangerous creatures you would never want to meet face-to-face, unless you’re a bounty hunter who’s signed up for the job — which is actually a thing.
When WPLG investigated a plane crash site from the air, they found that the Everglades had claimed another victim.
Chilling video showed the crash site and an alligator next to a body believed to be that of student pilot Mark Ukaere, who was the only person on board the Cessna 152.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the crash.
The Miami Herald reports the Cessna 152 was spotted late Wednesday in a swampy area southwest of Miami, with the body of the pilot alongside the debris.
Miami-Dade police spokesman Argemis Colome tells the Herald that the crash is “so far into the Everglades they might have to take airboats” to the scene.
The victim’s roommate Patrick Shedrack told WPLG that Ukaere focused on college, home life and going to church on Sundays. He was shocked by the tragedy.
“I don’t want to believe that this thing has happened. I don’t want to believe that,” he said. “All he does is go to his college, back home, on Sundays, church. That’s all,” Shedrack said.
NBC Miami reported that the flight was unauthorized, that the plane wasn’t reported missing until four days after the crash, and that the Dean International Flight Training & Aircraft Rentals business whose logo was on the plane has documented 29 incidents and five deaths since 2007.
Robert Dean defended that number by saying the size of the operation compared to other schools means his aviation center is in “good shape.”
If you’re operating an operation like this, 50 aircraft, 60,000 miles per year, if you take our average and another schools’ average, we’re in a heck of a good shape. The reason there’s so many children, so many kids at this school is because of our safety record, because of the way we maintain the planes. The pilots, the captains who fly, all send their kids. Why? Because this is one of the best schools.
Dean International has been fined and disciplined in the past by the FAA.
On Ukaere’s flight, Dean said, “Every time anybody flies in the evening, they must fly with another pilot.”
He speculated that spatial disorientation was the cause of the crash.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.