Arrow-right Camera


Canada Puts Brakes On Jet After Wild Ride Out Of Miami

Sat., July 26, 1997

Well, it LANDED smoothly.

The Boeing 707 cargo jet that flew out of Miami in such spectacular, scary fashion Thursday afternoon - wobbling and weaving between downtown buildings, nearly buzzsawing the Hard Rock Cafe’s giant neon guitar and skimming Biscayne Bay at an altitude normally occupied by pelicans - sat safely on the tarmac Friday evening in Gander, Newfoundland.

And it’ll likely be there for at least a few more days.

Canadian authorities have grounded the jet, with several questions to clear up before it flies again, said Colin McKay, a spokesman for Transport Canada in Ottawa, the agency leading the investigation.

There were unresolved concerns both about its mechanical condition and its ownership documents, which McKay termed “unusual.”

The plane, according to Canadian authorities, is owned by Allen Beni, a North Miami Beach man who runs a ompany called Jet Aviation Components and Leasing. It is registered in Liberia and was being leased and operated by a company called Shuttle Transporteur Aerier, with offices in Belgium and Congo, formerly known as Zaire.

“We’re trying to determine if it’s a commercially operated aircraft or a privately run one,” McKay said.

Kathleen Bergen, spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said Jet Aviation, which has a Miami address, did not hold an FAA flight certificate but that did not necessarily pose a problem because of the craft’s Liberian registration.

The agency was communicating with Canadian authorities and planned a full investigation of everything from the plane’s condition to the qualifications of the crew, she said.

Authorities would supply few details about the crew, plane or cargo. Its owners and operators declined comment or could not be reached. Beni, who resigned in 1994 from Florida West Airlines after the small company suffered a collapse in its stock market value, did not return phone calls.

Click here to comment on this story »