NTSB Identification: IAD97FA095.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, July 02, 1997 in PENOBSCOT, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-28R-180, registration: N3896T
Injuries: 4 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 pilot and passengers were returning home from a sightseeing flight, when a witness observed the airplane in a sharp right turn before it descended, impacted and sank in about 70 feet of water. Search efforts located some airplane parts including the right main landing gear, an airplane seat with the N number written on the back of the seat, and pieces of insulation. The main wreckage was not recovered. The pilot had obtained an abbreviated weather briefing earlier in the day, and said that the weather 'looked fine'. He was not instrument rated, and according to the airport manager, had very little instrument experience. Witnesses reported fog in the area at the time of the accident. According to the closest weather observation station, the reported ceiling was 900 feet overcast.

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

The pilot's flight into adverse weather conditions, which resulted in the loss of control. Factors relating to the accident were the fog and the pilot's lack of an instrument rating.

Full narrative available

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