NTSB Identification: SEA07FA165.
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Accident occurred Thursday, June 14, 2007 in Yellow Pine, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/30/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N6233E
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 day before the accident, the pilot and passenger had arrived in the airplane at a back country airport and set up camp with the intention of flying in the remote mountainous back country for several days. According to his logbook, this was the second time the pilot had made this type of trip, with the previous trip about 11 months prior. The purpose of the accident flight was to fly to another back country airport about 15 nautical miles to the north, have breakfast at a lodge, and then return. The pilot did not file a flight plan, and although the passenger thought other pilots knew their destination and intended time of return, this was not the case. The passenger stated that other airplanes departed first, and then they took off. She recalled that they were flying inside the canyon walls and made several turns. As they headed up a drainage, the pilot told her it was the "wrong drainage." The stall warning horn came on, and there was "no time or room to turn around." The airplane could not out climb the rising terrain and impacted the ground. The pilot sustained a skull fracture and died about 10 to 12 hours after the crash. The passenger's was injured but ambulatory, and stayed with the airplane to await rescue. A search for the airplane was not started until 2 days after the accident, when the caretaker at the departure airport noted that the couple's camping gear was still at the airport. The wreckage was located by an aerial search airplane 3 days after the accident. The accident site was about 8 nautical miles north of the departure airport, at an elevation of approximately 8,000 feet on the south side of an east-west ridgeline. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any malfunctions or failures that would have prevented normal operation. No emergency locator transmitter (ELT) signal was received from the airplane. The ELT was tested and found to function normally; the reason it did not activate upon impact could not be determined. The passenger reported that she was not aware of the location or function of the ELT, and therefore, she did not attempt to activate it manually. The passenger stated that there was a survival kit in the airplane, which she was aware of and made use of, during the 3 days she spent waiting for rescue.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's selection of the wrong routing through mountainous terrain and his failure to maintain adequate terrain clearance. Full narrative available
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