NTSB Identification: ERA12LA578
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, September 23, 2012 in
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/09/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 172B, registration: N8059X
Injuries: 1 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 pilot had been experiencing difficulties in his personal life and had joked with a clergyman about 2 days before the accident that he should, “just fly his plane into the ocean.” The pilot was subsequently reported missing. The investigation revealed that he arrived at the airport where his airplane was kept about 2 o’clock in the morning the day of the accident. Radar data showed that a primary radar target departed the airport vicinity about 45 minutes later and flew east. After a brief period of maneuvering over the open ocean about 21 nautical miles from shore, radar contact with the target was lost. A portion of airplane wreckage was recovered from the ocean later that day by a commercial diving vessel and was subsequently identified as being of the same make, model, and vintage as the accident airplane. No further wreckage was recovered, nor were the remains of the pilot. A hand-written suicide note was found inside the pilot’s vehicle, which was parked in the airplane’s hangar.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s suicidal act. Full narrative available
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