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Man falls 2,000 feet out of plane off Florida coast; search on

Ocean rescue teams are searching for a man who fell out of a plane 2,000 feet in the air off the Florida coast Thursday afternoon.

A pilot reported about 1:30 p.m. that the door of his Piper PA-46 Malibu aircraft was ajar and that somebody had fallen out, Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Spc. Mark Barney told the Los Angeles Times.

The plane typically holds about five people, but the communications director for the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Greg Chin, told The Times that the man was the only passenger. Chin said that it was a private aircraft and that its flight was authorized. The passenger's name has not been released. 

He fell out about eight miles southeast of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, Barney said. The airport is about 10 miles southwest of downtown Miami.

Barney said a Coast Guard search-and-rescue unit was looking for the man, along with three marine units from the Miami-Dade Police Department and a Miami-Dade County fire rescue team.

The plane had just taken off from Tamiami, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement, and the pilot turned around and landed safely. 

Police are investigating the incident, which appeared oddly reminiscent of an occurrence off Newport Beach this month. In that case, a passenger chartered a sightseeing helicopter, opened the door and jumped out, falling about 500 feet into the ocean. He died at a hospital. The incident was under investigation as a possible suicide. 

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Twitter: @skarlamangla

soumya.karlamangla@latimes.com

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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