NTSB Identification: SEA98FA088.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 04, 1998 in PRINDLE, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/06/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 172N, registration: N6234D
Injuries: 3 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 took off at 0211 under dark night conditions and encountered ceilings of 1,400 foot broken and 2,200 foot overcast. The radar track showed the aircraft reaching an altitude of 2,000 feet as it entered into a left, descending spiral. The last radar target was within 1/2 mile of the crash site and the distribution of wreckage and tree strikes indicated a steep descent angle. Toxicological test revealed the pilot had blood levels of 0.020 (ug/ml, ug/g) amphetamine, 0.092 (ug/ml, ug/g) methamphetamine, and 0.005 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol (the active substance in marijuana).

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

The pilot-in-command's failure to maintain control of the aircraft during attempted flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Factors contributing to the accident were clouds, dark night conditions, spatial disorientation, and drug impairment.

Full narrative available

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