NTSB Identification: ERA14FA168
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 24, 2014 in Brunswick, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA-44-180, registration: N923RS
Injuries: 2 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 24, 2014, about 1745 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-44-180, N923RS, was destroyed following an inflight breakup and subsequent impact in a waterway in a marsh area near Brunswick, Georgia. The two private pilots were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by ATP Aircraft 2, LLC and was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The airplane had departed from the Concord Regional Airport (JQF), Concord, North Carolina, about 1551 EDT and had an intended destination of Jacksonville Executive Airport at Craig (CRG), Jacksonville, Florida.

According to representatives of the flight school, the pilots had flown into JQF earlier from CRG and had an airplane change for the flight back to CRG.

According to a witness, the airplane was observed flying in a "northeasterly direction" prior to his losing sight of the airplane. Several eyewitnesses reported hearing a "thud" or "explosion" and also observed debris falling from above.

Preliminary radar information indicated that around 1740 the airplane was flying at 8,000 feet when the Federal Aviation Administration Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center instructed the pilots to descend. The command was acknowledged by the pilots; however, no further voice recordings were received from the accident flight. About 1744, the last recorded radar data indicated that the airplane was at 300 feet above ground level and no further data transmissions were received.

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