Passenger Allegedly Falls From Malibu

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A passenger reportedly fell from a Piper PA-46 Thursday soon after departure from Tamiami Airport, but authorities could not immediately confirm the incident took place because they could not find a body. According to the FAA, the pilot told air traffic controllers that the passenger “opened the backdoor and he just fell out the plane,” Reuters reported. The aircraft was eight miles southeast of the airport at about 1:30 p.m. and an altitude of about 2,000 feet when the alleged incident took place. The pilot returned to the airport immediately after reporting the incident. The Coast Guard searched the Atlantic Ocean off Key Biscayne, where the man would have fallen, but found nothing before calling off the search, Thursday night. 

By Thursday night, it was not clear if the incident was deliberate, accidental, or if it took place at all. It was nonetheless reminiscent of another event that took place earlier this month. Earlier in November, a 61-year-old allegedly opened the door of a Robinson R44 tour helicopter as it flew near the beach at Newport Beach, Calif., and jumped out. The aircraft was flying at about 500 feet over the ocean at the time and the man’s body was recovered from the water near the beach. In that case, the man paid in advance for a 30-minute tour for two but arrived alone. The deceased man’s brother later told authorities that his brother had been unable to fund treatment for a debilitating medical condition, leading police to investigate the incident as a possible suicide.