NTSB Identification: NYC95FA080.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 29, 1995 in NAPLES, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/29/1996
Aircraft: CESSNA 172P, registration: N96746
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

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.

THE NON-INSTRUMENT-RATED PRIVATE PILOT RECEIVED 3 WEATHER BRIEFINGS OVER A PERIOD OF 8 HOURS WHICH INDICATED THAT THE WEATHER EN ROUTE WAS DETERIORATING, AND INCLUDED MOUNTAIN OBSCURATION. HE THEN DEPARTED ON THE NIGHT CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT. WHILE FLYING IN A MOUNTAINOUS AREA, THE PILOT DESCENDED BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE SURROUNDING HILLS AND THE AIRPLANE STRUCK TREES ON RISING TERRAIN. A SEARCH WAS INITIATED; THE LOCATION OF THE ACCIDENT SITE WAS UNKNOWN UNTIL THE PASSENGER WALKED TO A ROAD THE NEXT MORNING AND EMERGENCY PERSONNEL WERE NOTIFIED. THE PILOT WAS FOUND ALIVE AT THE ACCIDENT SITE AND TRANSPORTED TO A HOSPITAL WHERE HE SUCCUMBED TO HIS INJURIES. THE ELT WAS FOUND SWITCHED OFF. THE PASSENGER REPORTED THAT THEY HAD BEEN OPERATING IN SNOW, AND WERE IN FOG WHEN THEY STRUCK THE TREES. WITNESS SAID THE TOPS OF THE HILLS WERE OBSCURED WITH CLOUDS.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Factors contributing to the accident were: the night conditions, fog, low ceiling, and hilly terrain.

Full narrative available

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