COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – Jose Ecarri says he and his pilot friend were flying from Tamiami to Arcadia to grab some tacos on Tuesday when the engine of their small plane failed and they landed in a remote area of the Florida Everglades — miraculously unscathed.
“We were like 2,000 feet and we had an engine failure,” 21-year-old Ecarri told News 6 partner Local 10 News. “We looked at each other and we were like, ‘We’re alive.’ This doesn’t happen very often.”
Sky 10 was over the scene before noon when the men were rescued near Mile Marker 55 off I-75.
The men were seen walking around the plane on the ground.
Cameras then captured a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue chopper hoisting the men up into the helicopter one at a time using a harness.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the single-engine Piper PA-32 “made a forced landing on a highway in the Everglades, approximately 20 miles north of Ochopee, Fla., around 9:50 a.m.”
“We were going down and we were trying to reach I-75 but we couldn’t make it,” Ecarri said.
Fire rescue took the pilot back to Tamiami and brought Ecarri to a nearby fire control station where he reunited with his mother. The two embraced and discussed the scary moment when they thought he wouldn’t make it.
“People don’t usually survive this kind of stuff, and the rate we were descending, we were in a dive,” he explained. “I was thinking about my grandpa. He’s up there and he will save me. He saved me today.”
Although terrifying, it truly makes for a Taco Tuesday tale two men are lucky to live to tell.
“Not a good day to get tacos,” Ecarri joked, though he and his mother said they still planned to get tacos later Tuesday.
The FAA will continue to investigate.
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