Back in March, two Cubans made a daring escape from communist Cuba, flying to Key West in a motorized hang glider. The man who piloted the aircraft is now telling the story of his flight to freedom.
Pilot who escaped Cuba in a hang glider reveals the details of his journey
Ismael Hernández Chirino, one of the Cuban pilots who escaped from the island on a motorized hang glider, gave his first statements to the South Florida press after being released last Monday from the Krome Immigration Detention Center.
When asked about his departure from the country in March of this year, the 28-year-old explained that both he and his travel companion quickly agreed on the decision to leave the island. The only remaining factor was the weather conditions allowing the journey.
“Our training as pilots made us believe we could make it; we just needed God and the wind to be on our side. Coming to an agreement was quite simple. The desire was already there; we just needed to turn off that part of our brain that said we were going to die on the journey,” Hernández told journalist Mario Vallejo of Univisión.
The pilot revealed that during the trip, they maintained a “relatively low” altitude, between 80 and 200 meters. To complete the journey, they had pre-planned to carry an extra gallon of fuel on board.
Hernández Chirino and David López Alfonso landed at Key West International Airport around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 25, 2023. After their arrival in the United States, they claimed a credible fear of returning to Cuba.
The pilots were granted political asylum on July 5th, but it was not until last Monday that they were released because the U.S. government reserved the right to appeal the decision, which ultimately did not happen. The news of their release was confirmed to Radio Televisión Martí by Willy Allen, the lawyer handling the case of the young men.