NTSB Identification: ATL94FA047.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 07, 1994 in MURPHY, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/07/1994
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180, registration: N9637J
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

TWO AIRCRAFT, A CESSNA 172 AND A PIPER PA-28, DEPARTED STATESVILLE, NC ON A VFR FLIGHT TO ATHENS, TN. THE PILOT OF THE CESSNA 172 STATED THAT AFTER NIGHTFALL, HE OBSERVED THAT HIS AIRCRAFT WAS RUNNING LOW ON FUEL, AND DECIDED TO LAND IN MURPHY, NC AND PURCHASE FUEL. HE CONTACTED THE PILOT OF THE PIPER AND ADVISED HER OF HIS INTENTIONS. SHE STATED THAT SHE HAD AMPLE FUEL AND WAS CONTINUING ON TO ATHENS. THE PILOT OF THE CESSNA LANDED IN MURPHY, AND DID NOT HAVE ANY FURTHER CONTACT WITH THE PILOT OF THE PIPER. HE STATED THAT IT WAS A DARK NIGHT, AND THE MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN WAS DIFFICULT TO SEE IN THE DARK. THE PIPER 180 IMPACTED THE TERRAIN APPROXIMATELY 200 FEET BELOW THE TOP OF A RIDGE LINE. THE PATH THROUGH THE TOPS OF THE TREES INDICATED THAT THE AIRCRAFT WAS FLYING STRAIGHT AND LEVEL AT THE TIME OF IMPACT.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain clearance from the terrain. Factors in the accident were the dark night, and the mountainous terrain.

Full narrative available

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