NTSB Identification: SEA02LA154.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 12, 2002 in Bellingham, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/08/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 182, registration: N6420A
Injuries: 3 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 attempted a non-stop flight from Chester, California to Bellingham, Washington. Near the end of the four and one-half hour flight, the aircraft's fuel gauges indicated the fuel supply was nearly depleted, but the pilot thought he would have enough fuel to complete his descent to a landing. Although he was granted a straight-in approach, when the aircraft was approximately four miles from the end of the runway, the engine lost power, and he was forced to ditch in the bay that was underneath the final approach course. A post-accident inspection of the aircraft revealed that, except for a small residual amount, both fuel tanks had been run dry.

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

The pilot's improper decision to continue en route in cruise flight when his fuel supply became low, eventually leading to fuel exhaustion while on final approach to the destination airport. Factors include the fact that the final approach course took the aircraft over an open body of water.

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