NTSB Identification: SEA02FA011.
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Accident occurred Monday, November 05, 2001 in Lucile, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/24/2002
Aircraft: Cessna A185F, registration: N61909
Injuries: 1 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 accident airplane departed McCall, Idaho, for a planned 45-minute flight to Cottonwood, Idaho. No flight plan was filed for the flight. When the aircraft failed to arrive at Cottonwood, a concerned family member reported the aircraft as missing, and a search for the aircraft was initiated. The wreckage of the aircraft was located the following day on a slope in the Salmon River/U.S. highway 95 canyon approximately 3 nautical miles south-southwest of Lucile, Idaho (note: U.S. highway 95, which runs from McCall to Cottonwood, runs through the canyon where the aircraft crashed.) The aircraft had crashed on the west slope of the generally north/south oriented river canyon, about 800 to 900 feet above the valley floor. Terrain rises to 6,927 feet above mean sea level (MSL; about 5,000 feet above the valley floor) within 5 nautical miles west of the accident site, and to 7,814 feet MSL (about 6,000 feet above the valley floor) within about 5 nautical miles east of the accident site. The wreckage and impact signatures at the accident site were indicative of the aircraft impacting near the spine of a northwest-facing finger ridge in a generally level flight attitude on an easterly heading, with sections of the aircraft continuing east beyond the initial impact point into adjacent ravines before coming to rest. Investigators did not find any evidence of pre-impact mechanical or structural malfunctions of the aircraft during post-accident examinations. Dark night visual meteorological conditions (no moon) existed at the time of the accident flight, with few clouds at about 10,500 feet MSL reported at the departure airport, increasing to broken to overcast clouds at 10,000 to 10,500 feet MSL near the destination.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude above, and/or clearance with, mountainous terrain during night visual flight rules flight. Factors included mountainous terrain and dark night light conditions.

Full narrative available

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