NTSB Identification: FTW97LA110.
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Accident occurred Thursday, February 27, 1997 in PLAQUEMINE, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N49205
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Approach Control was communicating with the pilot approximately 5 minutes prior to the accident and was providing VFR flight following through the Baton Rouge area. They reported that the pilot did not report any abnormalities with the aircraft. According to FAA records, the pilot got weather briefings from Automated Flight Service Stations before and during the flight. According to seven witness observations of people who were working on a levee adjacent to the accident site, the aircraft was in level flight, cruising over the Mississippi river at a low altitude beneath low clouds. One witness recalled seeing the aircraft approach high tension power lines which were traversing the river and perpendicular to the flight path. The aircraft impacted the lines, became hung up momentarily, and then fell into the river. Five of the witnesses heard the sound of an engine prior to the wire impact. The 2 power line support structures were 425 feet in height. Examination of the wreckage revealed wire strike marks beneath the right wing near the wing support strut attachment point. Throttle and mixture levers were both full forward and the tachometer needle was found at 2,500 RPM.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain proper altitude and clearance from transmission wires. Factors were, the dark night, low cloud ceiling, and fog. Full narrative available
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