Cuban Aviation Club accuses the “flying rafters” of robbery

The club of Cuban Aviation denounced the theft of a motorized hang glider belonging to that entity by the two Cubans who arrived in the United States this Saturday aboard that team.

The men, whom some have begun to identify as the “flying rafters,” left the Cuban capital yesterday morning and landed at the Key West International Airport, one of the southernmost islands of the Florida Keys, unless 160 km from Cuba.

According to the Cuban Aviation Club, the ultralight aviation equipment, of the “Trike” type, was owned by said club and had registration CU-U 1619, refers a note published by the official site cubadebate.

It “provided services to tourism, in the Air Sports modality, in the Playas del Este tourist pole in Havana” and took off “at 08:05 hours from the north coast, in the Tarará Residential District,” in Havana .

The entity denounced the two team pilots, whom it called “deserters” and identified as David López Alfonso and Ismael Hernández Chirino.

In addition, he described what happened as “an act classified as robbery” and a “frank violation of Cuban airspace.”

Two Cubans aboard a motorized hang glider land at the Key West airport

“The Cuban Aviation Club denounces this fact and transmits to the corresponding international authorities its disagreement with facts like these and requests that the sanctions corresponding to the seriousness of the case and the return of the stolen equipment be applied to these individuals,” the note states.

For their part, relatives of the pilots claimed not to know what the two men were planning and asked the United States authorities not to return them to Cuba.

“If they are returned to the problem that they are going to look for, it has no word, it does not compare with anything. The problem that they are going to find is going to be gigantic, they will never be able to be anyone else in their lives, ”he commented to the channel Telemundo Laura Hernández Chirino, sister of one of the two pilots.

According to his statements, quoted by the agency EFE“they made commercial flights for tourism and with some Cubans who could afford it.”

The two Cubans were detained as soon as they set foot in US territory after a flight of less than two hours and placed in the hands of the Border Patrol, reports the Spanish media.

In October 2002, a Cuban pilot at the controls of an old Russian-made Antonov single-engine plane landed at the Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport, located in the middle of the immense Everglades wetland.

The man was detained, but a judge granted him asylum and he was not deported, he recalls EFE.

In the fiscal year of 2022 (from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022), 6,182 rafters from the island were intercepted in the waters of the Florida Straits, a number well above the 838 apprehended the previous period. And so far in fiscal year 2023, some 5,900 Cubans have been intercepted.

EFE / OnCuba

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