NTSB Identification: ATL04CA185.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, September 15, 2004 in Belle Glade, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2004
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT-502B, registration: N90375
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane was topped off with 31 gallons JP-5 from the operator's above-ground 8,000-gallon supply tank. The pilot stated he did not sump the airplane's fuel tanks prior to departure. The flight departed the airstrip and was at 500 feet above ground level when the airplane lost engine power. The pilot's attempts to restore engine power were unsuccessful, and the pilot executed an emergency landing on a dirt road. The airplane collided with a dirt berm and spun into a ditch. Examination of the airplane revealed approximately two quarts of water was retrieved from each wing tank of the airplane, approximately one pint of water was retrieved from the fuel filter bowl, and the engine fuel filter was found saturated with water. Examination of the fuel supply tank revealed water in the tank and tank filter. The pilot stated the supply tank had not been used to fuel any airplanes since before Hurricane Frances impacted the Belle Glade, Florida, area with heavy rain and high winds on September 5, 2004. The pilot examined the tank and reported the vent lids on the tank could be lifted open, the pick-up tube for the nozzle extended to the bottom of the tank, and the tank was not equipped with a means by which it could be sumped or drained from its lowest point.

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

The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection and a loss of engine power due to water contamination of the fuel.

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