NTSB Identification: FTW02LA034.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, November 14, 2001 in Benton, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2002
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-802A, registration: N202AT
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The agricultural airplane was returning from its first spray load of the day when it impacted trees and a swampy canal while on final approach to land. The pilot radioed to the ground crew that he was inbound for landing and was not heard from again. The airplane impacted trees located on the east side of the canal and the wreckage was found on the west side of the canal. The flap actuator was found in the 10-degree extension setting. Post-accident examination of the wreckage did not reveal any anomalies with the airframe, engine, or propeller that would have affected the aircraft's performance. Toxicology tests detected 0.037 ug/ml of diphenhydramine in the pilot's blood and an unquantified amount of diphenhydramine in his urine. Diphenhydramine (commonly known by the trade name Benadryl) is an over-the-counter antihistamine used in symptomatic management of allergic symptoms and also for its sedative, antitussive and antispasmodic effects. The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine conducted a study (Effects of Fexofenadine, Diphenhydramine, and Alcohol on Driving Performance) on the effects of diphenhydramine on driving performance. The results of that study indicated that "Participants had significantly better coherence after taking alcohol or fexofenadine (Allegra) than after taking diphenhydramine...After participants took diphenhydramine, driving performance was poorest, indicating that diphenhydramine had a greater impact on driving than alcohol did."

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

in-flight collision with trees while on final approach to land for an undetermined reason.

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