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A student pilot crashed in the Florida Everglades.

Stacey Leasca
July 07, 2017

The wreckage of a single-engine Cessna 152 was discovered Wednesday night in the Florida Everglades along with the body of one victim. The remains were found a full four days after the small aircraft took off on an unauthorized solo trip from a flight school, South Florida's WPLG Local 10 News reported.

The crash site became even more disturbing after a WPLG news crew discovered an alligator on the scene devouring what was believed to be the remains of student pilot Mark Ukaere.

“Our chopper is above the scene of a wrecked plane in the Everglades. A gator appears to be chewing on a body next to the wreckage,” Peter Burke, WPLG's managing editor, tweeted.

The aircraft, which is registered to Air Christian Inc. in Miami, was also forced to make an emergency landing on U.S. Highway 41 in Collier County in December of 2015, WPLG reported. It’s unclear if the same pilot was flying the plane at the time.

"I don't want to believe that this thing has happened. I don't want to believe that,” Ukaere’s roommate, Patrick Shedrack, told WPLG. "All he does is go to his college, [come] back home [and] on Sundays, church. That's all.”

Robert Dean, the owner of the flight school Ukaere took off from, told WPLG that he attempted to call different places he thought the pilot might have gone. When he received no answer, he contacted the FBI.

"Every time anybody flies in the evening, they must fly with another pilot," Dean said. Dean also noted that he believes Ukaere may have suffered from spatial disorientation as he flew in total darkness over the Everglades.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are still investigating the cause of the crash.

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