NTSB Identification: CHI98FA099.
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Accident occurred Thursday, March 05, 1998 in ORLEANS, IN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/31/2000
Aircraft: Cessna T210L, registration: N2546S
Injuries: 1 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 non-instrument rated pilot departed Indianapolis, IN, for French Lick, IN, to pick up passengers. The airplane crashed 12 miles northwest of the intended destination. The wreckage was located the following afternoon in a wooded area near the crest of a hill. Local weather at the time of the accident was reported to be 100 foot overcast with 1/8 mile visibility due to fog. The aircraft initially contacted 25-30 foot high trees and the wreckage distribution was observed to be 500-600 feet in length. Toxicological examination of samples from the pilot revealed The toxicological examination of the specimens taken revealed: 193 ug/ml Diazepam was detected in blood, 212 ug/ml Nordiazepam was detected in the blood, 1.2 ug/ml Acetaminophen was detected in blood, Temazepam was detected in blood, Buspirone was detected in blood, Oxymetazoline was detected in blood, Nordiazepam was detected in urine, Temazepam was detected in urine, Oxazepam was detected in urine, Buspirone was detected in urine, Oxymetazoline was detected in urine, 125.2 ug/ml Acetaminophen was detected in urine, Diazepam is a prescription tranquilizer commonly used to treat anxiety or muscle spasms. Nordiazepam, temazepam, and oxazepam are metabolites of diazepam. Buspirone is a prescription tranquilizer used to treat anxiety. Oxymetazoline is a common ingredient used in over-the-counter nasal decongestants and eye drops. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter painkiller and fever reducer. Broken prescription bottles and a pill container were located in the wreckage along with numerous pills. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Great Lakes Region Medical Division, pilots are prohibited from operating aircraft while taking Diazepam and/or Buspirone.

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

The pilot's attempted VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions and his subsequent failure to maintain clearance with trees. Contributing factors were the pilot's impairment from prescription drugs, low ceilings, fog, trees, and hilly terrain.

Full narrative available

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