NTSB Identification: DEN01FA096.
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Accident occurred Friday, May 11, 2001 in Gunnison, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Beech 76, registration: N6002H
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.
Numerous witnesses, some as far away as 25 miles from the accident site, observed a low-flying airplane matching the description of the accident airplane. It was seen to drop down to near the surface of a reservoir, continue for several miles, then pull up and strike four 1/2-inch diameter aluminum high tension power lines that spanned the width of the reservoir. Three lines carried 26,000 volts and the ground (static) line carried 12,000 volts. The distance between the supporting structures was 1,245 feet. The low point of the drooping cables was about 250 feet above the water's surface. The cables were unmarked, and there are no regulations requiring that they be marked. The airplane was flying towards a setting sun when the collision occurred. Both pilots were commercial certificated, instrument rated, and flight instructors. The airplane was equipped with dual flight controls; therefore, which pilot was serving as pilot-in-command during the flight is not known. The medical examiner found a piece of paper clutched in the first (left seat) pilot's fist. It was later identified as being a portion of the Denver Sectional Chart, and depicted an area just north of the accident site. According to the pathologist, the injuries exhibited by the second (right seat) pilot were consistent with (and the injuries exhibited by the first pilot were not consistent with) being at the controls of the airplane. Toxicological screening revealed tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marijuana) in the second pilot's blood [0.0096 (ug/ml, ug/g)] and urine [0.0768 (ug/ml, ug/g)]. The first pilot tested negative for drugs and alcohol.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: intentional buzzing by both pilots and their failure to maintain clearance with transmission wires. A contributing factor was the sun glare. Full narrative available
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