2 Men Had Been Dead for ‘Quite a While’ Before Their Bodies Were Found After Plane Crash

Florida authorities identified the victims as Khadim Kebe, 37, and Mohamed Badenjki, 51

<p>NBC 6 South Florida/ YouTube</p> The site of a plane crash in the Florida Everglades on Jan. 24, 2024

NBC 6 South Florida/ YouTube

The site of a plane crash in the Florida Everglades on Jan. 24, 2024
  • Authorities said the Cessna took off from Pembroke Pines, Florida, on Tuesday evening and then went off the radar shortly after

  • The victims aboard the aircraft were Khadim Kebe and Mohamed Badenjki, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said

  • In an email to PEOPLE, the FAA said it and the NTSB will investigate the crash

A small plane crashed this week in the Florida Everglades, killing two men onboard, authorities said.

In an email to PEOPLE Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that, based on preliminary information, authorities found the wreckage of a single-engine Cessna 172 in the Everglades off I-75 near Weston, Florida, around 10:50 a.m. local time on Wednesday. The agency added that two people were on the aircraft.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Thursday identified the victims found dead at the crash site near Alligator Alley as Khadim Kebe, 37, of Texas and Mohamed Badenjki, 51, of North Miami Beach. The newspaper said it is unknown who piloted the Cessna.

PEOPLE reached out to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Friday for additional information, but they did not immediately respond.

The sheriff’s office said, per the Miami Herald, that the plane departed from North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on Tuesday. According to Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Kane, the plane left around 6:30 p.m. that day and headed west, based on information from Flight Aware. Then after it turned north, he said, the aircraft went off the radar at 6:43 p.m.

Kane also said, via NBC affiliate WTVJ, that authorities didn’t get an alert about the Cessna until 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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"They were beyond help at this point in time," said Kane. "If the aircraft went down as it apparently did at 6:45, you're talking, you know, 16 hours, 18 hours of those two parties being out there in the Everglades."

He added that emergency responders arrived at the crash site at 11:18 a.m., per the Tampa Bay Times. Kane also said that the men may have been dead for “quite a while,” the Miami Herald reported.

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Footage from the crash scene by ABC affiliate WPLG showed the plane broken into pieces.

A fire occurred on a piece of the wreckage, WTVJ reported, with Kane explaining that the blaze was due to fuel from the Cessna burning off.

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The plane was owned by Florida General Aviation Corp. in Pembroke Pines, based on the tail number shared by authorities, the Miami Herald reported, which added that a person identified as the company’s president declined to comment.

The FAA said in its email to PEOPLE that it and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.

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