NTSB Identification: NYC02FA082.
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Accident occurred Friday, April 12, 2002 in Gardiner, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-181, registration: N288CA
Injuries: 2 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.

After making an unscheduled stop due to weather, the airplane departed on the accident flight. Once airborne, the airplane proceeded to the north towards mountainous terrain. No information regarding the route of flight was obtained for the airplane after it left the airport environment. The wreckage was located approximately 140 feet from the top of a 1,220-foot ridgeline, and about 10 miles east of the departure airport. The start of the debris path was marked by freshly broken tree branches at the top of a 60-foot tree. A path of freshly broken branches approximately 340 feet long connected the initial tree strikes to the main wreckage. The path was on a magnetic heading of 140 degrees, and had a down angle of approximately 2 degrees. At the time of the accident, the ridge was obscured by clouds, and the visibility was approximately 500 feet. Examination of the wreckage revealed no preimpact failures or malfunctions with either the airframe or engine.

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

The pilot-in-command's failure to maintain sufficient altitude while maneuvering in a mountainous area, which resulted in a collision with terrain. Factors in the accident were, mountainous terrain, clouds, and the pilot's decision to continue the flight in deteriorating weather.

Full narrative available

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