NTSB Identification: ATL05FA034.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 09, 2004 in Pelzer, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2006
Aircraft: Diamond Aircraft DA40-180, registration: N42SE
Injuries: 3 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.

Upon arriving near the destination airport the pilot was advised that the weather was below the approach minimums and was asked if he wanted to divert to his alternate airport. The pilot told the tower controller that he did not have an alternate filed. The tower controller advised the pilot that Donaldson Center Airport was nearby and asked the pilot if he would like to divert to Donaldson. The pilot elected to divert to Donaldson and he was given radar vectors for the final approach course for runway 5. As the pilot maneuvered for the approach, the airplane descended below 2,500 feet at which time the tower controller issued a low altitude warning with no response from the pilot. Attempts to re-establish communication with the pilot were unsuccessful. Examination of the crash site revealed a damaged power line about 75 feet above the ground and that the tops of four trees were also damaged. Airplane debris was scattered on a 195-degrees magnetic heading, and the wreckage path was 100 feet wide by 450 feet long. The engine was separated from the airplane and was found 300 feet from the main wreckage. The left wing was separated from the airframe and found on the right side of the wreckage path. No mechanical problems were reported by the pilot prior to the accident. The post-accident examination of the wreckage failed to disclose a mechanical problem or component failure. Radar data shows the airplane losing 600 feet of altitude in a period of 14 seconds before the airplane was lost on radar. The elevation at the crash site was 955 feet.

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

The pilot's failure to follow IFR procedures and to maintain assigned altitude resulting in a collision with a transmission wire and trees.

Full narrative available

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