NTSB Identification: MIA06LA106.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, May 10, 2006 in Caribbean Sea
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/20/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N5033Y
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 instrument rated pilot departed VFR approximately 1 minute after the end of civil twilight, and approximately 9 minutes after departure, the pilot contacted San Juan CERAP and requested flight following to the destination airport. The controller advised the pilot to resume own navigation, and approximately 12 minutes after takeoff, the pilot advised the controller, "San Juan Approach ah, 5033Y ah I'm kinda lost ah I lost my bearing out here I need direct." The controller provided a heading of 140 degrees, which the pilot acknowledged; however, the recorded radar data indicates the airplane flew a south-southwesterly heading for approximately 2 minutes 21 seconds, and the flight descended to 1,600 feet. The remainder of the recorded radar data indicates that the heading and altitude changed numerous times, with the lowest recorded altitude being 300 feet. The controller then attempted to have the pilot proceed to the departure airport, but he did not acknowledge the transmission from the controller. The last recorded radar target indicated the airplane was at 2,000 feet, and was located at 17 degrees 57 minutes 41 seconds North latitude and 064 degrees 59 minutes 04 seconds West longitude. A search for the occupants and wreckage was performed by the U.S. Coast Guard; no debris or bodies was ever recovered. Level 1-4 showers had occurred over the Caribbean Sea between the departure and destination airports during the hour prior to departure, but there was no significant echoes along the airplane's flight route while airborne. Additionally, low-level clouds resulting from the previous precipitation was probably in the area.

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

The failure of the pilot to maintain control of the airplane. A contributing factor in the accident was the spatial disorientation of the pilot, resulting in the in-flight loss of control.

Full narrative available

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