American Pilot Remains In Cuba

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:09 PM EDT

( - Radio Havana reported Wednesday that Cuban civil aviation authorities are continuing to investigate the crash landing of a private plane after a flight that originated at Marathon, Florida.

The Cessna 172, piloted by John Reese, a Pizza Hut deliveryman, crash landed near the town of Cojimar on the Cuban coastline east of Havana.

Witnesses say when Reese landed, a tire blew and the plane flipped over.

The broadcast also said that Reese was immediately taken into custody by Cuban authorities who took him to a hospital where he was treated for "light" injuries.

An official of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana said Wednesday that Reese is still alive but had no further information.

Meanwhile, Reese's wife is quoted as saying that her husband had no reason to go to Cuba.

"John has absolutely no reason to go to Cuba. We've never even talked about it. I thought it was a joke when I first heard it. He got scared. He's never flown by himself. His hands got cold, and now he's stuck in another country," Susan Reese said in an interview with the Miami Herald.

Reese made the solo flight after finishing his shift at Pizza Hut and he was wearing his uniform when the plane crash landed in Cuba. His wife said that alone indicates he never intended to land in Cuba.

"Who goes to Cuba in a pizza uniform?" she said.

She portrayed her husband as a free spirit, a person who frequently leaves home and finds odd jobs to finance his wanderings. The couple had lived in Pembroke Pines, Florida for several years before moving to Reno, Nevada.

She said her husband moved to Marathon, Florida recently where he worked as a pizza deliveryman, a job she said he often held when he was home in Reno.

In Nevada, John Reese crusades against prostitution, which is legal there.

Susan Reese also confirmed reports that her husband suffers from mental illness, specifically from a form of manic depression. He often goes off his medication, according to his wife.

Reese said she is now waiting by the phone and hoping for the best for her husband.

"I haven't slept. The phone keeps ringing. I feel like I went to sleep and I'm still in a nightmare. I just want to know when he's coming back," she told the Herald.