INS releases Cubans who flew plane to Key West

Saturday, November 16, 2002

MIAMI -- Eight Cubans who flew a Soviet-built crop-duster to Florida this week were released from detention Friday.

The eight, including a 2-year-old girl, were taken to a public clinic for routine medical tests and vaccinations, and were expected to be released to their families later Friday.

"I'm doing well. I'll talk later," pilot Nemencio Carlos Alonso Guerra said in Spanish, responding to questions from journalists who met the van bringing the Cubans from the U.S. Immigration processing center.

The group made their risky flight from Los Palacios, in the western province of Pinar del Rio, on Monday, landing at Key West International Airport under escort by two Florida National Guard fighter jets.

The immigrants have been in the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service since their arrival. They were interviewed and processed according to the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, which lets Cubans who reach American soil apply for U.S. residency.

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