NTSB Identification: ANC13FA027
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 04, 2013 in Nikolai, AK
Aircraft: CESSNA 182B, registration: N2343G
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
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 March 4, 2013, about 1106 Alaska standard time, a Cessna 182B airplane, N2343G, sustained substantial damage when it collided with mountainous snow-covered terrain, about 65 miles southeast of Nikolai, Alaska. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight, under 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 91, when the accident occurred. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at the Merrill Field Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, at approximately 1006, and was bound for Takotna, Alaska, via Rainy Pass.
The area between Anchorage and Takotna consists of steep mountainous terrain, and narrow mountain passes.
According to a family friend of the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to transport the two passengers to Takotna, where they hoped to volunteer for the Iditarod sled dog race. When the airplane did not return to Merrill Field, a concerned family member notified the Federal Aviation Administration who issued an alert notice (ALNOT) at 1608.
After being notified of the overdue airplane, personnel from the 11th Air Force’s Rescue Coordination Center initiated a search for the missing airplane along its supposed route of flight. On the morning of March 5, an Air National Guard HH-60G helicopter located the wreckage in an area of steep mountainous terrain near Rainy Pass, and accessed the site confirming the pilot and two passengers were deceased.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), along with a representative from Cessna Aircraft Company reached the accident site on the afternoon of March 11. The accident site was in an area of steep, mountainous, snow-covered terrain, at an elevation of about 4,386 feet mean sea level. A detailed wreckage exam is pending following recovery.
During an interview with the NTSB IIC on March 7, a pilot flying thru Rainy Pass the morning of March 4, reported ceilings of 4,400 feet, severe turbulence, and flat light conditions.
The closest weather reporting facility was Puntilla Lake, about 18 miles southeast of the accident site. At 0902, a weather observation from Puntilla Lake was reporting, in part: wind, calm; visibility, 25 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, 5,000 feet overcast, temperature, 23 degrees F; dew point 21 degrees F; altimeter, 30.35 inHG.
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