NTSB Identification: ANC99FA108.
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Accident occurred Sunday, August 08, 1999 in JUNEAU, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/04/2000
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N80229
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 pilot obtained a weather briefing prior to departing along a coastal route he had flown several times previously. The FAA FSS briefer advised that VFR flight was not recommended due to low visibility, clouds, and rain. The pilot contacted the destination airport control tower with a position report of five miles west of the Juneau International Airport. The controller responded that the airport was VFR, but conditions were lower to the west, and that two other airplanes to the west were unable to get in due to poor weather conditions. The pilot said he would try to reach the airport from another direction. About nine minutes later, the pilot radioed he was 'turning around.' Seconds later, the controller heard an ELT signal. The airplane wreckage was located about 500 feet msl on an island, about three miles south of the destination airport. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces. A postmortem toxicology test revealed Chlorpheniramine and Dextromethorphan in the pilot's blood and urine. Chlorpheniramine may be found in a number of over-the-counter cold remedies. The warning associated with this compound states, in part: 'Do not drive or operate machinery while taking this medicine as it may cause drowsiness.' Dextromethorphan is used as a cough suppressant.

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

The pilot's continued VFR flight into instrument meteorological conditions. Factors associated with the accident were mountainous/hilly terrain, low ceilings, the pilot's improper in-flight decision making, and the pilot's impairment from over-the-counter drugs.

Full narrative available

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