Airplane Stolen At Gunpoint In Mexico

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A pilot and his family were in their Cessna Stationair on Tuesday, preparing to take off from a dirt runway in Baja California, when they were forced at gunpoint to abandon the airplane, Bob Collins, president of the Aircraft Crime Prevention Institute, told AVweb. "Three men jumped the fence, then three others in a Nissan Sentra pulled onto the runway, blocking it," Collins said. "One of them had a gun, and they broke a window in the airplane and forced the family out. They pushed the Sentra off to the side and torched it, then all six of them climbed into the airplane. There was baggage in there too, and it barely made it into the air," Collins said. ACPI had issued an alert recently that aircraft thefts are rising in the border region. "Mexican officials are seizing aircraft, so smugglers are out looking for new ones," he said.

They prefer U.S. airplanes, he added, because they tend to be better-maintained and newer than local aircraft. The pilot and his family were not hurt, Collins said. The Mulege Airstrip is a general aviation dirt airstrip that is located two miles northeast of Mulege, near the Hotel Serenidad in the northern part of Baja California Sur.