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Local Flight School Dean International Has Had Several Planes Go Down In Past 12 Months

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A local flight school and aircraft rental company is becoming known for plane crashes.

Dean International operates out of Miami Executive Airport and has now had four instances of its aircraft's going down in the last year alone.

Two planes went into the Everglades on Tuesday in Southwest Miami-Dade, killing at least three people.

The crash location was so remote that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue used airboats to reach it.

One of the planes had markings that indicated it belonged to Dean International.

Dozens of worried Dean International students showed up at the flight school's headquarters Tuesday afternoon after learning there was a midair collision possibly involving planes from their facility.

A former student, Michael Coppo, arrived looking for information on a friend who is an instructor at the school.

"He's a good pilot. I hope he made it," said Coppo.

The school has been under scrutiny after several mishaps.

Back in May of this year, two people were injured when the small plane they were traveling in went down in the Everglades, just west of U.S. 27 and Krome Avenue.

A check of the FAA registry showed the plane was registered to Dean International.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue workers pulled both people, a pilot and a passenger, out from underneath the plane's twisted metal.

The pilot and passenger of the Cessna 152 were then airlifted to Kendall Regional Medical Center in stable condition.

Then last July, one of Dean International's students, Mark Ukaere from Nigeria, was killed when the Cessna 152 he was flying crashed in the Everglades.

Ukaere took off in the plane without telling anyone, according to flight school owner Ian Robert Dean.

He speculated that Ukaere, who was flying at night, suffered spatial disorientation, which he likened to flying in a black hole.

Dean added that pilots not fully instrument-qualified can easily lose their bearings at night.

Ukaere, a licensed pilot, was working on getting his instrument rating.

That same month, another Cessna 172 belonging to Dean International was forced to make an emergency landing on Key Biscayne.

The aircraft came down in Crandon Park, taking out a light pole before ending up in a tree.

Two people, an instructor and a student, were inside the plane practicing instrument flying when they reportedly said the engine stopped working.

Both walked away from the crash, with the only major injury being a broken nose.

No one at Dean would comment on Monday's mishap but according to their webpage, "Dean has educated over 7,000 pilots including over 1,000 from India alone."

They also say they are "one of the largest and most prestigious FAA 141 approved Flight schools in North America."

Coppo said the school's owner has made him a better pilot and he said his only problem was student's not listening to instructors.

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