NTSB Identification: LAX01FA059.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 14, 2000 in SACRAMENTO, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/25/2003
Aircraft: Dehavilland DHC-6, registration: N252SA
Injuries: 1 Fatal,6 Uninjured.

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.

A passenger aboard an airplane sustained fatal injuries when she exited the airplane through an emergency exit during flight. The emergency exit door, hinged along the edge toward the nose of the airplane, was on the right side of the cabin between the right rear single seat and the rear pair of seats. Opening the door in flight would require significant force to overcome the wind pressure. The deceased passenger sat by herself next the emergency exit. The passengers in the seats immediately ahead of the emergency exit said they heard a loud sound, like rushing air, behind them and knew this wasn't normal. They thought they felt the wind, and one passenger turned to look over his right shoulder. He saw the deceased passenger with her shoulders out of the door. Her left arm was passing over his head, so he grabbed her coat at her left wrist. He tried to reach further right for a better hold, but now could only see the dark coat and her arm. He felt a tug; the female slipped from his grasp and fell clear of the airplane. Officers from the San Jose Police Department, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the investigator-in-charge (IIC) from the Safety Board examined the airplane after FBI personnel completed a forensic analysis of the cabin. A red cover, inscribed with the word "LIFT" in white letters, lay over the emergency exit door's operating handle. With this cover lifted up, the handle required a noticeable force to rotate it about 45 degrees in a clockwise direction. Rotation of the handle moved a 1/2-inch diameter metal rod approximately 1-inch from the latched to the unlatched position. The latch receptacle in the airframe did not exhibit any deformities. The IIC locked and unlocked the door several times and detected no malfunctions. The victim's husband informed the FBI that, the day before the incident, his wife scheduled an appointment for counseling later that week. Toxicological tests on the deceased passenger found no ethanol or other drug substances. The coroner's office classified the death as a suicide.

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

The passenger committed suicide.

Full narrative available

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