NTSB Identification: ANC01FA093.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR
Accident occurred Monday, July 30, 2001 in Haines, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/10/2002
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-300, registration: N39586
Injuries: 6 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 certificated commercial pilot, with five passengers aboard, departed Skagway, Alaska, as the first of two airplanes conducting air tour flights over a national park. The standard route of flight after departure was to proceed southbound, climb over an area of steep mountainous terrain, then descend into an area known as Glacier Bay. The pilot of the second tour airplane said that it was apparent that low clouds, rain, and fog within the pass would not allow them to fly through the pass. He said that he and the other pilot discussed optional flight routes. The accident pilot said that he was going to take a heading of 240 degrees, and fly through to the other side. The pilot of the second airplane said he replied to the accident pilot that he thought that this was a real bad idea, and that he was not going to follow him. The second pilot stated that the accident pilot's final radio transmission was, in part: "...I'm sure that it's clear on the other side. I'll see you on the other side." No further radio communications were received from the accident airplane. After being notified of an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal, a search was initiated about 1600. Poor weather conditions hampered rescue crews from reaching the accident site. About 1859, the wreckage was located on an area of steep, snow-covered mountainous terrain. A toxicology examination of the pilot revealed the presence of prescription antidepressant drugs and codeine. The FAA prohibits the use of such drugs by pilots.

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

The pilot's continued flight into known adverse weather conditions, and his poor in-flight decision making. Factors associated with the accident were clouds and mountainous terrain. A finding is the pilot's use of FAA prohibited drugs.

Full narrative available

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