NTSB Identification: MIA98LA008.
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Accident occurred Thursday, October 09, 1997 in GULF OF MEXICO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/26/1998
Aircraft: Piper PA-18A-150, registration: N7198D
Injuries: 1 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 pilot stated the weather was 'good' for most of the flight; however, he encountered some isolated showers, and had to descend from 5,000 to 2,500 to maintain VFR conditions. Also, he had to deviate from his route about 5 nautical miles, and had encountered a wind from the north of 45 mph for about 20 nautical miles. He stated that he was 3 hours 45 minutes into the flight and 120 nautical miles from his destination when the airplane's engine lost power. The pilot could not contact ATC by radio directly, so he relayed information via another airplane that he was having engine problems. ATC radar identified his location as being 100 nautical miles from Key West. While descending to ditch in the water, the engine restarted, and the pilot was able to climb to 4,500 feet, but was not able to maintain altitude. He flew for about another 40 nautical miles until he saw a military airplane flying in circles and a freighter on the surface. He ditched in the water, the freighter passed him by, and the military airplane kept circling. He got into his raft, the airplane sank, and after about 20 minutes, the pilot was rescued by a United States Coast Guard aircraft about 60 nautical miles from Key West. The airplane was never recovered. The winds at Key West about the time of the accident were from 080 degrees at 9 gusting 18 knots.

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

loss of engine power for undetermined reason(s), which resulted in a forced landing (ditching) at sea.

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