NTSB Identification: MIA99FA150.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, May 05, 1999 in FONTANA, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2000
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N30DS
Injuries: 1 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 pilot made radio contact with approach control, level at 8,500 feet, and was advised that the tops of the clouds were at 7,000 feet msl, and that the base of the clouds in the area were at 3,400 feet msl. The pilot said, '...I can see the...seven thousand footers I've got uh ground contact.' The controller said, '...roger are you familiar with the mountainous terrain.' The pilot answered, 'yes sir.' About 8 minutes after initial contact, radio and radar contact were simultaneously lost. The airplane impacted in mountainous rising terrain, in a heavily wooded area. Due to bad weather, extremely rough terrain, and the remoteness of the crash site, ground searchers could not reach the wreckage for a couple of days. The following exchange occurred between two ATC controllers referance weather conditions at Knoxville and N30DS's position, '...[he is] tryin to dodge clouds and stuff...I don't see any breaks...well he says he sees the ground...well good luck (unintelligible) he better descend if he can because there's no breaks out this way but oh well that's for him to decide....' The airframe, engine, and propeller were examined and no discrepancies were found. Control cable continuity was confirmed to all the flight controls

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

the pilot continued visual flight into know weather conditions which resulted in reduced visibility, and the subsequent in-flight collision with rising terrain. Factors in this accidents were clouds and low ceiling in the accident area.

Full narrative available

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