Cuban Migrants Continue Historic Trend of Flying to Florida for Refuge

Saturday morning, Cuban migrants flew a powered hang glider over the Straits of Florida and landed at Key West International Airport. Two migrants were apprehended by deputies and transferred to Border Patrol authorities.

Turned Over to Patrol

WPLG-TV reporter Janine Stanwood uploaded a video of the hang glider gliding above Key West.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office also published photos and a statement verifying that the two Cuban migrants touched down at Key West International Airport on a motor-driven hang glider around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Fortunately, there are no severe reports of injuries and both migrants have been turned over to U.S. Border Patrol custody. Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar of the Miami Sector also shared images and thanked the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for their cooperation.

This event illustrates the decades-long history of Cubans seeking asylum in the United States by traveling to Florida.

Nick Pontecorvo, a seaplane pilot, recollected seeing a strange-looking hang glider approaching him. He suddenly understood it was an ultralight that swiftly went by his wing.

Cuban Immigrants

The arrival came at a time when South Florida was seeing one of its greatest Cuban migrations in years. Last October, a Cuban pilot landed an obsolete Russian crop-dusting biplane on a desolate airfield in the heart of the Everglades.

The pilot phoned the airport’s control tower around 50 miles west of Miami to report that he was low on fuel and needed to land.

The aircraft was reportedly an Antonov An-2 with a single engine. The pilot was the lone passenger. He claimed to work for the Cuban government’s internal charter airline. The October pilot was given refuge later on.

Three Cuban aircraft arrived at Key West International Airport between 2002 and 2003. As of this writing, neither the identities nor the current situation of the two Cuban migrants who landed at Key West International Airport on Saturday morning has been reported.

This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.