Michael Russin, Who Died In Everglades Plane Crash, Was a Surgeon, a Reds Fan, and a Twin

An RV-7 kit planeEXPAND
An RV-7 kit plane
via Bob Adams (CC 2.0)

At 5 p.m. Sunday, Dr. Michael Russin, a well-known hand surgeon, amateur pilot, and avid Cincinnati Reds fan, left Boca Raton Airport in his experimental single-engine plane. He was headed for Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport. It should have been just a short flight.

But by nightfall, his family still hadn’t heard from him. Just after midnight, they called the FAA to report him missing.

Shortly before 7 a.m. on Monday, they received bad news: Russin’s plane had gone down in the Everglades. According to the FAA, he had crashed half an hour after leaving Boca Raton.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident to determine what might have gone wrong. Meanwhile, many of Russin’s patients and coworkers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach are expressing disbelief and shock.

“He would help you if needed help and a quick look at your x-ray,” one former coworker wrote on Facebook. “Always kept the jokes coming. He will be missed.”

“I saw him as a patient when I was a child,” a family friend wrote. “Both he and his twin brother were great surgeons.”

According to property records, Russin lived at the Jockey Club condominium complex on Biscayne Boulevard near North Miami. He grew up in Cincinnati and attended medical school at Tulane University, graduating in 1962.

Russin’s brother, David, died last year. The two had followed similar paths in life, both graduating from Tulane and going on to careers at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, where Michael worked as an orthopedic hand surgeon and David as an oncological surgeon. (Their father, Dr. Lester Russin, had been the hospital’s director of orthopedics from 1961 to 1977.) Both were members of Miami Beach’s Temple Beth Sholom.

The twin brothers were avid Cincinnati Reds fans, so in 2013, they celebrated their 75th birthdays with a party at the Sandbox at Miami Theater Center, which was transformed into a baseball locker room with guests in jerseys and waiters serving traditional ballpark snacks.

Russin was an amateur pilot who belonged to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. According to the Miami Herald, he had been flying an RV-7, a small kit airplane which fits two people, at the time of the crash.

Mount Sinai Medical Center issued the following statement in response to the news of Russin’s death:

"All of us at Mount Sinai Medical Center are deeply saddened by the unfortunate passing of Dr. Michael Russin. Michael enjoyed life and the practice of medicine. He and his family have a legacy of caring for patients at Mount Sinai. He and his twin brother, David, treated patients at our medical center for decades, and their father was once our chief of orthopedics. Michael will be missed by the entire Mount Sinai family. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and wish them comfort during this time."


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