NTSB Identification: LAX99LA034.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 18, 1998 in ORINDA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/16/2001
Aircraft: Cessna 152, registration: N48201
Injuries: 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 in cruise flight at 2,000 feet agl, the aircraft began losing power. About 2 minutes later, the engine lost power completely and the pilot was not able to restart the engine. The aircraft collided with a tree during the subsequent forced landing. The FAA inspector who responded to the site reported that she drained fuel from the tank sumps and gascolator and found the fuel to be contaminated with water at a ratio of approximately 35 percent water to 65 percent fuel. She reported that draining the gascolator also yielded grass and other debris. The carburetor contained about 50 milliliters of water, 2 milliliters of fuel and 8 milliliters of an unknown mold-like substance. The inspector reported that the right fuel tank gasket did not seal. The pilot had received 17 gallons of fuel before takeoff, and reported that the aircraft had been tied down on the ramp for about 3 weeks before the flight. The fuel truck was tested and was found to be within specifications. The pilot stated that he did not remember if he had drained fuel from the tank sumps or gascolator during the preflight.

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

A loss of engine power due to water contamination of the fuel. A factor was the pilot's inadequate preflight, during which he neglected to note the contamination, and the dark night which made it difficult to select a landing spot.

Full narrative available

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