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TODAY   |  November 15, 2013

Pilot: Passenger may have jumped out of plane

A search is on by air and by sea for a passenger who may have fallen nearly 2000 feet from a private plane off of Key Biscane, Fla. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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>>> investigators are trying to piece together what happened inside a small plane over the ocean. the pilot telling police his passenger fell out of the aircraft and hasn't been seen since. tom costello has the story for us this morning. tom, good morning.

>> reporter: hey, good morning. in fact, miami dade homicide detectives are on this case. that doesn't mean they think it's a homicide. this is a normal part of the investigation. they don't know if he fell or jumped. it's a real mystery what happened out over the ocean. a search by air and sea for a victim who may have fallen nearly 2,000 feet from a private plane . it was just after 1:30 in the afternoon when the pilot of a small piper aircraft radioed an urgent call to aircraft controllers. mayday! m mayday! i have a door ajar and a passenger that fell down.

>> you said you have a passenger that fell out of your plane?

>> that's correct, sir. he opened the back door and just fell out the plane.

>> he marked the plane's point on a radar and then notified police, fire and the coast guard who began an urgent search of the area. meanwhile, the pilot returned to the airport for an emergency landing .

>> november 164 lima delta, do you require emergency assistance on the ground?

>> i don't. i just have the door open but i require emergency assistance for the passenger that fell two miles from the shore.

>> reporter: the plane marked off by police as detectives met the pilot.

>> the pilot is cooperative with the investigation. he has been talking to them all afternoon.

>> reporter: the question this morning, how in the world did the plane's door come ajar and how did a passenger then fall out? it seems the only person who knows is the pilot.

>> mayday, mayday, mayday!

>> the search continues today in the air and the sea but they say it's unlikely anyone could survive that fall down into the ocean.

>>> tom, thank you so much.