NTSB Identification: FTW98GA286.
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Accident occurred Saturday, June 27, 1998 in RESERVE, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/18/2000
Aircraft: Lockheed SP-2H, registration: N14835
Injuries: 2 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 public aircraft accident report.

The airplane had made a dry pass on the fire zone, then circled around to make a second pass and release its load of 2,450 gallons of retardant. According to witnesses, the airplane struck trees while in a nose low, right wing low attitude. Upon ground impact, the airplane exploded and burned. Investigation revealed no evidence of preimpact airframe, engine, propeller, or flight control failure/malfunction. The first officer, an initial attack trainee pilot, was in the left seat and the captain was in the right seat. Toxicology tests of the first officer indicated 0.031 ug/ml brompheniramine, 0.011 ug/ml chlorpheniramine in kidney fluid, and 0.142 brompheniramine, 0.072 chlorpheniramine in liver fluid. Both medications are over-the-counter antihistamines with sedative effects.

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

Failure of the copilot to maintain both lateral and vertical clearance from the trees, and failure of the captain to provide adequate supervision of the flight.

Full narrative available

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