NTSB Identification: MIA01LA065.
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Accident occurred Saturday, January 27, 2001 in Tifton, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2001
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-140, registration: N3978K
Injuries: 1 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot was in cruise flight at 4,500, when the engine rpm decreased from 2400 rpm to idle power. He turned on the boost pump, applied carburetor heat, and switched fuel tanks with negative results. He contacted ATC, informed them of the situation and declared an emergency. ATC pointed out an airport, and he turned towards runway 15 at the airport. The pilot's approach was too high and he made a 270-degree turn. During the turn he realized that he would not be able to make the runway. He initiated a forced landing to a highway but was unable to get aligned, and crashed into a marshy area. Examination of the engine assembly and accessories, and no anomalies were noted. The engine was started and run at 2150 rpm.

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

The pilot's failure to properly judge his altitude (too high) during a forced landing to a runway. The pilot made a 270-degree turn in an attempt to lose altitude resulting in a forced landing in a swampy/marshy area short of the runway. Contributing to the accident was a reported loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Full narrative available

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