NTSB Identification: MIA97LA155.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 03, 1997 in ST THOMAS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA31-350, registration: N4088G
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

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 right engine began to surge, emit black smoke, and lose power shortly after takeoff. The pilot did not shutdown the engine or feather the propeller. The pilot stated that while turning to return to the airport, the aircraft almost stalled, and he lowered the nose and descended toward the sea. He was not able to maintain altitude, and the aircraft was ditched in the sea. Postcrash examination of the right engine showed no evidence to indicate the reason for the loss of power and black smoke emission.

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

failure of the pilot to follow emergency procedures for loss of power in the right engine, by failing to shutdown the right engine and feather the right propeller. This resulted in the aircraft being unable to maintain altitude and a subsequent ditching in the sea. A related factor was the loss of right engine power for undetermined reasons.

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