NTSB Identification: LAX91LA032.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 44616.
Accident occurred Saturday, November 17, 1990 in SAN CLEMENTE, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/30/1992
Aircraft: CESSNA 172RG, registration: N5257V
Injuries: 1 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.

THE PILOT WAS FISH SPOTTING FOR A BOAT AT SEA. THE PILOT HAD BEEN AIRBORNE FOR OVER 10 HOURS. THE LAST CONTACT WITH THE AIRCRAFT OCCURRED AT ABOUT 0300 WHEN THE PILOT GAVE A POSITION REPORT TO THE BOAT AND STATED HE WAS RETURNING TO BASE. THE BOAT CAPTAIN EXPECTED TO HEAR FROM THE PILOT ONE MORE TIME AT ABOUT 0330. THAT DID NOT HAPPEN, AND THE PLANE DID NOT ARRIVE AT THE BASE BY FUEL EXHAUSTION TIME AT 0900. THE AIRCRAFT WAS REPORTED MISSING AND A SEARCH WAS STARTED. BY 1100 HOURS THE AIRCRAFT WAS LOCATED BY ANOTHER FISH SPOTTER ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF AN ISLAND AT ABOUT 1200 FEET MSL, ON AN APPROXIMATE HEADING TOWARDS HOME BASE.

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

THE PILOTS SELECTION OF IMPROPER CRUISE ALTITUDE WHILE OPERATING UNDER A LOW OVERCAST ON A DARK NIGHT. A FACTOR IN THE ACCIDENT WAS FATIGUE AND LACK OF SLEEP.

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