NTSB Identification: FTW98FA344.
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Accident occurred Thursday, August 06, 1998 in CREEDE, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2000
Aircraft: Cessna T210N, registration: N2WF
Injuries: 4 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 airplane was on a flight to distribute the cremation ashes of the pilot's mother. Witnesses observed the airplane fly around the high altitude valley (elevation 10,400 feet, density altitude 11,864 feet) once and then spin to the ground. One witness observed a 'cloud of something' pass behind the airplane moments before it 'spun to the ground.' Records indicate that the pilot had accumulated a total of 441 hours of flight experience, with approximately 30 hours in the last 12 months. Toxicology tests on the pilot revealed that sertraline (trade name Zoloft, a non-approved drug for flight status) was present in his brain in levels several times higher than what would normally be expected from the maximum recommended dosage. A powder, which was light tan in color and gritty to the touch (similar to cremation ashes), was found throughout the cabin area.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain flying airspeed and the subsequent stall/spin. A contributing factor was high density altitude.

Full narrative available

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