NTSB Identification: ATL96FA074.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 01, 1996 in MARATHON, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/29/1997
Aircraft: Cessna P210N, registration: N6427W
Injuries: 2 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.

During an over-water arrival at night, the pilot reported that the destination airport was in sight, and he canceled his VFR advisories. The controller acknowledged, advised the pilot to squawk 1200, and told him that a frequency change was approved. The pilot acknowledged at 0257:10, then there was no further radio communication with the pilot. At 0257:08, the encoded altimeter showed the airplane was at 1,200 feet, and radar data showed the airplane was descending with a ground speed of 183 to 189 knots. The final radar targets showed the airplane had descended to 200 feet, the heading was about 213 degrees, and the ground speed had increased to nearly 200 knots. Subsequently, the airplane descended into the water about 7 nautical miles north-northeast of the airport. The wreckage was recovered, and examination of the flight controls revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The landing gear and flaps were found retracted. The engine was recovered, and after replacement of components that were not recovered, the engine was started and operated normally. The propeller was recovered almost 1 year and 4 months after the accident; examination of it revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The airplane owner said that at about 1900 hours, before departing on the 1st leg of the flight, the pilot advised that he was tired due to his work/flying schedule. The owner stated that he was not aware that the pilot was going to fly the airplane after that conversation.

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

failure of the pilot to maintain sufficient altitude during an over-water approach at night. Factors relating to the accident were darkness and pilot fatigue.

Full narrative available

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