NTSB Identification: FTW95LA113.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Wednesday, February 08, 1995 in HOWARD, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/24/1995
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32-300, registration: N41345
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor.

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 FLIGHT DEPARTED A 7489' MSL ELEVATION AIRPORT WITH NO FLIGHT PLAN. THE WEATHER FOR DEPARTURE WAS OVERCAST WITH THE SURROUNDING MOUNTAIN PEAKS OBSCURED BY CLOUDS. WHILE ATTEMPTING TO CLIMB THROUGH ABOUT 15,000' MSL IN CLOUDS, THE AIRPLANE ENCOUNTERED TURBULENCE AND BEGAN TO LOSE ALTITUDE AT A RATE OF ABOUT 2500'/MINUTE. THE PASSENGER SAID THEY EMERGED FROM CLOUD BASES AT ABOUT 12,000' MSL, AND THE PILOT ATTEMPTED TO LAND ON A FROZEN LAKE AT ABOUT 11,800'MSL. THE AIRPLANE IMPACTED AT THE EDGE OF THE LAKE AND CAME TO REST ON THE LAKE WITH EXTENSIVE DAMAGE. THE ELT FUNCTIONED PROPERLY (BUT THE WEATHER WAS UNFAVORABLE FOR RESCUE BY AIR). BOTH OCCUPANTS RECEIVED MINOR INJURIES AND SPENT THE 1ST NIGHT IN THE AIRCRAFT. THEY WERE LIGHTLY DRESSED AND HAD NO SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT. THE NEXT DAY THEY ATTEMPTED TO WALK OUT. DURING THE DAY, THE PILOT LOST A SHOE AND BECAME INCREASINGLY DISORIENTED. THEY DECIDED FOR THE PASSENGER TO GO ON AND BRING BACK RESCUERS. THE PASSENGER SPENT THE 2ND NIGHT UNDER AN OVERHANG AND FOUND RESCUERS ON THE MORNING OF THE 3RD DAY. WHEN THE RESCUERS REACHED THE PILOT, HE HAD EXPIRED FROM HYPOTHERMIA. THE PASSENGER, WHO WAS A PILOT, STATED THERE WAS NO PREIMPACT AIRCRAFT FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION.

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

THE PILOT'S FLIGHT INTO KNOWN ADVERSE WEATHER OVER MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN AT AN INADEQUATE ALTITUDE TO RECOVER FROM TURBULENCE/DOWNDRAFT. FACTORS RELATED TO THE ACCIDENT WERE: INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION BY THE PILOT, HIS INADEQUATE WEATHER EVALUATION, THE ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND THE HIGH/MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN.

Full narrative available

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