NTSB Identification: ANC90LA173.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 42874.
Accident occurred Friday, September 07, 1990 in GLACIER ISLAND, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/05/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32RT-300T, registration: N393HM
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

ABOUT 20 MINUTES AFTER TAKING OFF ON A VFR FLIGHT FROM VALDEZ TO PALMER, AK, THE PILOT REPORTED A ROUGH-RUNNING ENGINE AND SMOKE IN THE CABIN. ABOUT ONE MINUTE LATER, HE REPORTED THAT HE WAS LOSING VISIBILITY BECAUSE OF SMOKE IN THE CABIN AND DECLARED AN EMERGENCY. RADIO CONTACT WITH THE AIRCRAFT WAS LOST, AND IT WAS PRESUMED TO HAVE CRASHED IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND NEAR GLACIER ISLAND, ABOUT 30 MILES WEST-SOUTHWEST OF THE DEPARTURE POINT. FOUR DAYS LATER, THE PASSENGER'S BODY WAS RECOVERED FROM THE WATER IN THAT AREA. A POST-MORTEM EXAM REVEALED THE PASSENGER HAD DROWNED. ON 9/10/90, A 4 FT SECTION OF ONE OF THE AIRCRAT'S WINGS WAS FOUND ON A BEACH ABOUT 2-1/2 MILES FROM WHERE THE PASSENGER'S BODY WAS FOUND.

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

UNDETERMINED MECHANICAL FAILURE(S) THAT RESULTED IN LOSS OF ENGINE POWER, SMOKE IN THE COCKPIT, AND A SUBSEQUENT EMERGENCY DESCENT FOR A FORCED LANDING (DITCHING) AT SEA. THE LACK OF SUITABLE TERRAIN FOR A FORCED LANDING WAS A RELATED FACTOR.

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