NTSB Identification: SEA04LA077.
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Accident occurred Saturday, May 01, 2004 in Laurel, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/29/2004
Aircraft: Piper PA-18-105, registration: N5483H
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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 reported that he and his wife were sightseeing along the Yellowstone River just south of Laurel, Montana, when he spotted what he described as unusual animal tracks on a gravel sand bar adjacent to the river. He applied one notch of flaps and executed a 180 degree course reversal for a "low and slow look." The aircraft subsequently struck the water and nosed over. The pilot reported that there was no mechanical malfunction or failure with the aircraft or its powerplant/systems.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate clearance/altitude while maneuvering resulting in the inadvertent in-flight collision with water/terrain.

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