NTSB Identification: SEA07LA097.
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Accident occurred Monday, April 09, 2007 in Cibecue, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-28-151, registration: N42487
Injuries: 1 Minor.
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 was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility two days prior to the accident flight following an overdose of clonazepam, a prescription anti-anxiety medication. He left the facility the day prior to the flight, and took off just after midnight on the day of the accident. The pilot stated that thirty to forty minutes into the night cross-country flight, he realized that he had forgotten his suitcase and returned to the departure airport. He further stated that after retrieving the luggage, he continued the flight to his original intended destination, and about two hours into the flight, elected to make an unscheduled landing due to a low fuel situation. The pilot indicated that, while maneuvering to the airport, he encountered rising terrain that he felt the airplane would not climb over, due to performance constraints of the airplane, and elected to land off airport. The airplane collided with trees and terrain during the landing, resulting in substantial damage. The pilot received minor injures. Post-accident toxicology testing indicated recent use of two different antidepressants, recent use of an over-the-counter antihistamine, and use of clonazepam at a level consistent with overdose and in the range typically causing drowsiness and difficulty maintaining balance.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain proper control of the airplane during an off airport landing. Contributing factors were the pilot's psychological condition, impairment due to overdose of prescription medication, inadequate in-flight planning and mountainous terrain. Full narrative available
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