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Man who fell from plane ID'd; search resumes off Florida coast for body

Nearly 24 hours after he fell from a plane 2,000 feet in the air, rescue teams continued to search for a Key Biscayne man's body in the waters off the Florida coast Friday morning.

Police identified him as Gerardo Nales, 42, who lives in the island town of the Miami coast.

The Miami-Dade Police Department Homicide Bureau is investigating an incident in which a pilot reported that a man had opened the door of his small plane and fallen out around 1:30 p.m. Thursday. 

"It was reported that a passenger on board jumped off or fell from the airplane while flying a couple miles offshore," said police Det. Javier Baez in a statement given to the Los Angeles Times.

The incident happened about 8 miles southeast of the Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Spc. Mark Barney told the Los Angeles Times. On Thursday, the Police Department, the Coast Guard and a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue helicopter were searching for the man, but to no avail.

Recovery efforts were halted overnight because of low visiblity and bad weather, and were resumed Friday morning, according to police.

The plane had just taken off from Tamiami, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told The Times. It turned around and landed safely. The airport, about 10 miles southwest of downtown Miami, generally serves small jets. 

The passenger and the pilot were the only people aboard the plane, the communications director for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Greg Chin, told The Times. Chin said that it was a private aircraft and that its flight was authorized. 

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Twitter: @skarlamangla

soumya.karlamangla@latimes.com

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