NTSB Identification: DFW07FA039.
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Accident occurred Saturday, December 16, 2006 in Jay, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: Bellanca 17-30A, registration: N39858
Injuries: 3 Fatal,1 Minor.

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.

The un-licensed pilot and three passengers were on a local flight at night in a 300-hoursepower high performance airplane when the engine lost power. The pilot elected to extend the airplane's landing gear and perform an emergency landing to a lake. Upon water impact, the airplane nosed over and came to a rest partially submerged in an inverted position. The pilot exited the airplane unassisted and the three passengers remained onboard and subsequently drowned. At the accident site a local law enforcement officer detected a "strong" smell of alcohol on the pilot's breath and that his speech was slurred. When asked if he had been drinking the pilot replied that he had consumed two margaritas several hours earlier. Five bottles of liquor were found in the airplane, with four of the five bottles found to be open. The pilot was forced to submit to a blood draw about five hours and forty minutes after the accident and was arrested on anticipated charges of three counts of first degree manslaughter. Toxicological testing on blood samples from the pilot tested negative for blood alcohol. The pilot did not hold, nor had ever held a pilot or medical/student pilot certificate. Despite repeated attempts by the IIC, the pilot declined to submit a completed Pilot Operator Aircraft Accident Report Form (NTSB Form 6120.1). The pilot also declined to submit his pilot logbook for examination. It could not be determined how much flight time the pilot had accrued; however, the pilot reported to local law enforcement officers that he had not logged a flight in the previous five months. FAA records revealed the pilot purchased the airplane approximately nine months prior to the accident. The previous owner, a certificated flight instructor (CFI), reported that he had instructed the pilot in the airplane for approximately 10-hours. An examination of the airplane was performed. No pre impact anomalies were noted. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

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

The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons and the pilot's improper decision to extend the landing gear for the water landing. Contributing factors were the prevailing night conditions and the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing.

Full narrative available

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