NTSB Identification: SEA99LA059.
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Accident occurred Saturday, April 10, 1999 in GLENNS FERRY, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 172D, registration: N2650U
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilots reported that while cruising up a river, one of the passengers spotted a coyote on the river bank and all the aircraft occupants turned to look at it. When the pilot-in-command (the left-seat pilot) directed his attention back to the front of the aircraft, he spotted unmarked powerlines crossing the river and warned the flying pilot (a non-current private pilot in the right front seat). The right-seat pilot pulled back on the control yoke, but the left-seat pilot stated it appeared to him that this would take them directly into the wires and he therefore pushed the yoke forward. The aircraft struck the wires, losing 1/3 of its vertical tail and 1/2 of its rudder; however, control of the aircraft was maintained. After climbing and performing a stability check and a simulated landing, the pilots returned to the departure airport and landed without further incident. Terrain in the vicinity of the powerline crossing is about 200 feet above the elevation of an airport on the river bank 2 1/2 miles upstream.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The failure of both pilots to see-and-avoid wires crossing the river. Factors included: transmission wires; inattention of both pilots to the aircraft's flight path; and the pilots' low-altitude flight.

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