NTSB Identification: LAX01FA001.
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Accident occurred Sunday, October 01, 2000 in SAN JUAN BATIST, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/02/2004
Aircraft: Beech A36TC, registration: N36TV
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 airplane collided with mountainous/hilly terrain as the pilot descended in instrument conditions toward the destination airport. The non-instrument rated pilot was obtaining VFR flight advisories from Air Traffic Control, and told approach control that he intended to head for his destination in visual conditions. A few minutes later the pilot stated that he intended to circle down through a hole. At this time, approach lost radar contact at a mode C reported altitude of 3,500 feet on a southeasterly track in an area of hilly terrain where it is not uncommon to loose radar contact at that altitude or less. The controller assumed that he was losing the radar contact, terminated radar service, and approved a frequency change. The controller did not hear a response from the airplane. At 2009:29, the target was at a mode C reported altitude of 2,200 feet. By 2011:03, the target had turned left on a southwesterly track and was at a mode C reported altitude of 1,300 feet. This was the last recorded target for the flight's assigned secondary beacon code. The accident site elevation was about 1,000 feet. A resident who lived near the accident site reported that it was very foggy about the time of the accident, and estimated that the visibility was 100 feet..

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

the pilot's in-flight decision to continue flight into instrument weather conditions at an altitude that did not maintain an adequate terrain clearance, which resulted in a collision with terrain. Factors were a dark night, clouds, fog, mountainous terrain, and lack of instrument rating.

Full narrative available

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