NTSB Identification: DCA99MA088.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Saturday, September 25, 1999 in VOLCANO, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/26/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-31-350, registration: N411WL
Injuries: 10 Fatal.

NTSB investigators traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The full report (NTSB/AAB-01-02) is available on the NTSB Web site. See http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/publictn.htm for details.

On September 25, 1999, about 1726 Hawaiian standard time, Big Island Air flight 58, a Piper PA-31-350 (Chieftain), N411WL, crashed on the northeast slope of the Mauna Loa volcano near Volcano, Hawaii. The pilot and all nine passengers on board were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The sightseeing tour flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand air taxi operation. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed, and visual meteorological conditions existed at the Keahole-Kona International Airport, Kona, Hawaii, from which the airplane departed about 1622. The investigation determined that instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site.

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

the pilot's decision to continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) in an area of cloud-covered mountainous terrain. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's failure to properly navigate and his disregard for standard operating procedures, including flying into IMC while on a visual flight rules flight plan and failure to obtain a current preflight weather briefing.

Full narrative available

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