Dispatches: Desperate Straits

The air inside our four-seater Cessna Skymaster is both hot and stale as pilot Eduardo Domaniewicz patrols the sea off Key West. The aquamarine water of the Straits of Florida, so beautiful at first, becomes monotonous after three hours of scanning. Cuba lies just 38 miles to the south, but the horizon here is flat and featureless. The only sound is the lulling drone of the Cessna's engines. In fact, it is so boring and so suffocating in the cabin that two of our spotters are nodding off. Then, abruptly, the radio comes alive: "Stand by for a surprise!" yells a...

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