NTSB Identification: MIA92GA024.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45481.
Accident occurred Friday, November 08, 1991 in OKEECHOBEE, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/28/1992
Aircraft: CESSNA 172N, registration: N739WS
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

: 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 FLIGHT WAS CONDUCTING AN AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE LOOKING FOR 2 MISSING FISHERMEN ON LAKE OKEECHOBEE. WHILE DESCENDING TO 125 FT AGL, A BOAT WAS SPOTTED OFF THE LEFT WING. THE AIRPLANE TURNED TOWARDS THE BOAT DESCENDING WITH THE LANDING LIGHT ON. WHILE OVERFLYING THE BOAT, THE LANDING LIGHT WAS TURNED OFF AND THEN BACK ON. THE PILOT LATER STATED THE LIGHT ILLUMINATED WHAT APPEARED TO BE HAZE, WITH NO VISUAL SIGHTING OF THE WATER. THE AIRPLANE THEN COLLIDED WITH THE WATER AND NOSED OVER. WITNESSES STATED THAT THE NIGHT WAS VERY DARK WITH PATCHY GROUND FOG.

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

THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S FAILURE TO MAINTAIN ALTITUDE DURING A LOW PASS AT NIGHT. CONTRIBUTING FACTORS WERE THE PILOT'S LIKELY SPATIAL DISORIENTATION DUE TO THE LACK OF SURFACE VISUAL CLUES, THE DARK NIGHT CONDITIONS, AND THE PATCHY FOG CONDITIONS.

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