Elderly Couple Dies in Hijack Attempt

ByABC News
August 10, 2001, 4:16 PM

M I A M I, Aug. 10 -- An elderly couple who chartered asmall plane on the pretext of having sex in the sky died whenthe plane plunged into the sea off the Florida Keys after theytried to hijack it to Cuba, U.S. authorities said today.

The unidentified couple scuffled with the pilot when thePiper Cherokee was about 40 miles south of Key West,sending the small plane plunging into deep water in the FloridaStraits between Key West and Cuba, the pilot told agentsinvestigating the alleged hijacking attempt.

The pilot, Thomas Hayashi, 36, managed to scramble out ofthe sinking plane and suffered only cuts and bruises. But theman and woman apparently were trapped.

"This is what the pilot is telling us," FBI Agent JudyOrihuela said. "An elderly Cuban couple in their 60s askedto be taken on a 'Mile High' tour. Once they were up in theair they demanded to be taken to Cuba.

"There was a scuffle and the pilot tried to maneuver theplane. The man fell on the throttle and made it so that he [thepilot] couldn't fly the plane. He had to ditch the plane."

Not-So-Friendly Skies Lately

It was the second bizarre incident involving a small planein the Florida Keys recently. On July 31, American pizzadelivery man Milo John Reese took off on a flying lesson in aCessna and ended up crashing the plane on a beach in Cuba. Hewas charged with transporting a stolen plane.

Local media said Hayashi was the co-owner of a tour companycalled Fly Key West, which on its Web site advertises "MileHigh Club" tours for people who want to have sex in a plane.

"Come fly the very friendly skies," the Web site beckons."Cleaner than a hotel room. Brand new Key West Mile High Clubsouvenir sheets on every flight."

The company offers a "Quickie" flight of 35 minutes for$199, up to $349 for a 55-minute sunset tour. It notes thatflights will not be videotaped unless passengers ask for it. "Our voyeur cam is only in the plane by request."

The Miami Herald reported that the six-seat plane had beenconverted to a two-seater with a "lounge" area in the back witha privacy partition behind the cockpit.