NTSB Identification: NYC89FA099.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 40577.
Accident occurred Saturday, March 11, 1989 in SOUTHBRIDGE, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/23/1991
Aircraft: PIPER PA-32R-300, registration: N301WA
Injuries: 2 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 PLT & PAX TOOK OFF AT ABOUT 2100 EST ON A VFR FLT FROM NEWPORT, RI, TO SOUTHBRIDGE, MA. ABOUT 33 MIN LATER, THE PLT CONTACTED BRADLEY APCH CTL & REQUESTED ASSISTANCE TO THE SOUTHBRIDGE MUNI ARPT. THE CTLR WAS UNABLE TO OBTAIN RADAR CONTACT WITH THE ACFT & ADZD THE PLT THE VIS WAS 3/4 MI IN SNOWSHOWERS, BUT THAT ARPTS TO THE SOUTH WERE RPRTG VFR. THE PLT ELECTED TO CONT TO SOUTHBRIDGE. AT ABOUT 2145 EST, RADIO CONTACT WAS LOST. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE ACFT COLLIDED WITH TREES IN SOUTHBRIDGE & CRASHED. WITNESSES RPRTD THE ACFT CIRCLED THE AREA 3 TIMES BEFORE IT CRASHED. ALSO, THEY RPRTD THE ENG WAS OPERATING & THAT SNOW WAS FALLING. NO PREIMPACT PART FAILURE OR MALFUNCTION OF THE ACFT OR ENG WAS EVIDENT. TOXICOLOGY CHECKS SHOWED THE PLT HAD A BLOOD/ALCOHOL LVL OF 0.190% & URINE/ALCOHOL LVL OF 0.234%. ALSO, PSEUDOEPHEDRINE (A NON-PRESCRIPTION DECONGESTANT) WAS DETECTED IN HIS BLOOD AT A LVL OF 2.4 MG/L.

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

POOR JUDGEMENT OF THE PILOT BY FLYING WHILE PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED BY ALCOHOL, AND HIS CONTINUED VFR FLIGHT INTO INSTRUMENT METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS (IMC). RELATED FACTORS WERE: THE PILOT'S INADEQUATE PREFLIGHT PLANNING/PREPARATION, DARK NIGHT, ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND TREES AT THE ACCIDENT SITE.

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