NTSB Identification: FTW01LA158.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, July 03, 2001 in Belle Chase, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-300, registration: N5883V
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The private pilot attempted to find an unlit airport at night. Radar data depicted the airplane flying low at various altitudes on two separate occasions. Witnesses located near the accident site stated that they observed the airplane flying low until it impacted a utility pole. The airplane burst into flames after impact with the pole and descended into a canal. Post-accident examination of the wreckage revealed no anomalies with the aircraft or engine. The pilot did not have the frequency selected for the pilot controlled runway lighting system at the private airport, and a witness stated that the runway lights were not illuminated. Toxicology tests performed on the pilot revealed that he was intoxicated (0.14% ethanol in vitreous fluid) at the time of the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to maintain clearance with a utility pole while maneuvering. Contributing factors were the pilot's impairment due to alcohol intoxication and the night light conditions. Full narrative available
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