NTSB Identification: NYC98LA039.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 09, 1997 in NEW SALEM, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/21/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N12219
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

While over a reservoir, the passenger felt the airplane was low and asked the pilot, 'why don't you pull up a little bit?' The pilot stated the view is better down low and sarcastically asked the passenger, 'what are you scared?' The airplane's wheels then contacted the water and the airplane flipped over. The passenger indicated several times that there were no abnormalities with the airplane's engine, and it was running right up to impact. Additionally, passenger stated the pilot was adjusting a rotating wheel in the airplane's center console just prior to the impact and the water over the reservoir appeared very smooth, like a sheet of ice. Examination of the airframe did not disclose any abnormalities. Toxicological tests detected levels of cocaine and drugs used for control of cold/allergy symptoms with illness effects of distraction, sensory disturbance or impaired judgement.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude/clearance above the water due to his impairment by drugs. A factor in this accident was the glassy water condition.

Full narrative available

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