NTSB Identification: MIA02LA031.
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Accident occurred Friday, November 23, 2001 in Barceloneta, PR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/20/2002
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N61582
Injuries: 2 Minor.

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 pilot stated that he was performing left turns at an altitude of 900 feet, and when he tried to correct for a left bank, he was unable to do so. He said he was able to make pitch control changes, but was unable to recover from the left bank because the control had jammed. He said that the aircraft then entered a spin, and descended, crashing upside down into a lake. According to an FAA inspector who conducted the postcrash investigation, when he interviewed the pilot, the pilot said that the aircraft was at an altitude of about 700 to 900 feet, and his passenger who was seated in the front next to him, was asleep. The inspector said that the pilot further stated that during attempts to apply a control input to stop the left turn, the control yoke became jammed. The inspector said his examination of the accident aircraft showed that the impact had separated the wings from the rest of the fuselage, but that the flight control system exhibited damage consistent with overstress, and there was no evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunction to the flight control system. Information provided by law enforcement officials showed that an aircraft had been observed at 200 feet, operating in an area consistent with where the accident aircraft was later found, and that the pilot exhibited a strong odor of alcohol, but refused requests that he submit to an alcohol test.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain control of the aircraft which resulted in an uncontrolled descent and an in flight collision with water. Contributing to the accident was the impairment of the pilot due to alcohol.

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