The Miami Herald
Nov. 11, 2002

Cargo plane with Cubans lands in Key West

  Miami Herald

  KEY WEST - A group of 10 Cubans landed at Key West International Airport this morning on what authorities said was a small Russian-made cargo plane.

  The single engine Antonov, which was escorted to the Key West airport by two U.S. fighters, landed at 10:41 a.m. Key West Airport manager Peter Horton
  said the airport had advanced knowledge the planc was coming, "but not much, just a few minutes.''

  Horton said the 10 Cubans -- the pilot, eight adults and a small child -- left the ramp accompanied by officers from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
  Service. The Cubans' identities were not inmediately available.

  Horton said the yellow and white Antonov appeared to be a cargo plane, or possibly a cropduster.

  ''When we got the call that they were on the say they were already in our [landing] pattern,'' said Horton, who added officials didn't know yet where the
  plane originated.

  ''It's our understanding that this is a defection, not a hijacking,'' Horton said. "The aircraft is not configured for passengers, it's configured for cargo."