NTSB Identification: CEN11FA508
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 25, 2011 in Williston, ND
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N41MK
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.

On July 25, 2011, at 2036 central daylight time, a Beech model A36 airplane, N41MK, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during a forced landing attempt near Williston, North Dakota. The pilot was fatally injured. The passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Bonanza Air, Inc., Williston, North Dakota, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was operated without a flight plan. The flight departed Sloulin Field International Airport (KISN), Williston, North Dakota, at approximately 2018 for the local flight.

According to the passenger, the purpose of the flight was to take aerial photographs of a nearby oil well installation and a cabin belonging to a relative of the pilot. The passenger arrived at KISN around 2000 and observed the pilot perform a preflight inspection of the airplane. After departure, the flight proceeded eastbound to photograph the oil well installation. The passenger noted that the entire flight was flown at a low altitude and that his photos were taken from the right cockpit passenger seat. After taking a several photos of the oil well installation the flight proceeded to overfly the cabin. The passenger recalled that shortly before the accident, while traveling westbound, the pilot remarked that the engine wasn't operating normally and asked him to look for a suitable landing area. He believed that the engine was still running at that time. The pilot located an open landing area and was in the process of landing when the right wing collided with the terrain. The passenger noted that the airplane slid for a short distance and that he was able to pull himself out of the airplane before calling 911 for assistance.

A foreman working at a nearby oil drilling installation stated that he and two of his employees saw the airplane flying at a low altitude over the worksite. He noted that the airplane's altitude was comparable to those flown by aerial-application airplanes during crop-dusting operations. He could not recall if the engine was operating as it passed-by his position. He noted that the airplane was flying straight-and-level before it collided with the terrain. He responded immediately to the accident site and provided assistance to the passenger until emergency personnel arrived. He also noted that he attempted to stop a fuel leak on the right wing using several towels.

An on-scene investigation confirmed flight control cable continuity from the respective flight control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The landing gear and wing flaps were fully retracted. The fuel selector was positioned on the left fuel tank. Approximately 21 gallons of fuel were de-fueled from the left wing fuel tank. The left wing tank appeared undamaged and no visible fuel leaks were noted. The right wing tank contained minimal fuel, estimated to be about 1 gallon, all of which was found in the tank's inboard baffle compartment. The right wing fuel tank integrity was breeched by several punctures about midspan. The fuselage fuel-sump strainer contained fuel that was void of water and particulate contamination. The engine remained partially attached to the firewall and the propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Two of the three propeller blade tips exhibited leading edge gouges and chordwise scratching. The airplane's engine was shipped to the manufacturer's facility for later examination. The electronic fuel flow indicator and engine temperature indicator were also retained for later examination.

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