NTSB Identification: FTW97FA092.
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Accident occurred Monday, January 27, 1997 in MAYHILL, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/09/1999
Aircraft: Beech 95-B55, registration: N47SM
Injuries: 3 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.

The outboard portion of the right wing of the twin engine airplane impacted a pine tree in mountainous terrain during a night cross country flight. About 12 minutes prior to the accident, while 49 miles short of their intermediate destination, the pilot reported picking up ice at 9,500 feet MSL and reported that he was diverting to El Paso. ATC granted the frequency change to El Paso; however, no further radio calls were received. At 2005, a witness near the accident site, reported hearing the airplane flying at 'tree top level over his house' on a southeast direction. He stated that a low ceiling prevailed, the temperature was just above freezing and snow flurries restricted his visibility. Witnesses traveling on a gravel road adjacent to the accident site reported the lights of the airplane flying at tree top level prior the crash. The auxiliary fuel cell for the right engine was compromised by the initial collision with the pine tree and the 3 remaining tanks were destroyed by post-impact fire. Both fuel selectors were found in the AUX position. No discrepancies were found that would have prevented normal operations. The pilot had accumulated 7.5 hours of flight within the last 12 hours.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance with trees and terrain. Factors were the mountainous terrain, the snow obscuring the visibility, the dark night illumination, and the pilot's fatigue.

Full narrative available

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