NTSB Identification: WPR14FA209
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 24, 2014 in Electric City, WA
Aircraft: KENNETH A BERGER SEAREY LSX, registration: N249PW
Injuries: 1 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 May 24, 2014 about 1650 Pacific daylight time, an experimental, amateur built, Searey LSX amphibious airplane, N249PW, sustained substantial damage during takeoff at Banks Lake, about 5 miles southwest of Electric City, Washington. The airplane was owned and being operated by the pilot as a visual flight rules personal cross-country flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the solo pilot received fatal injuries. The airplane was departing Banks Lake for Lake Washington, near Seattle, Washington.
A witness told the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) that the airplane had arrived at Banks Lake on Thursday, May 22. After landing on the lake, the pilot had lowered the land wheels with the intent to taxi the airplane on to a beach. Approaching the beach the left main landing gear struck a submerged berm damaging the landing gear and its supporting structure. The pilot who was authorized to work on the airplane spent the next several days making repairs to the airplane.
Another witness told the NTSB IIC that he was on the lake fishing from his boat, when he heard and saw the airplane attempt to takeoff. He said the airplane started a high speed run but then the engine throttled back and the airplane turned toward the beach as if returning to the beach. Then the airplane abruptly turned 180 degrees and started another high speed run. He said the water was choppy with the addition of numerous boat wakes. He said he thought the airplane was going 40-50 miles per hour when it encountered boat wake. The airplane may have bounced 4-5 feet in the air and then abruptly nosed down into the lake. The airplane came to an abrupt stop with a 20-30 foot high splash. He headed his boat toward the airplane. When he arrived the airplane's high wings were level with the surface of the water, and the pylon mounted engine was still running. Another boat had arrived prior to his and swimmers were in the water attempting to recover the pilot.
After recovery, the pilot was taken to a boat ramp where an ambulance was waiting.
Shortly thereafter the airplane sank in about 50 feet of water. The only part of the airplane recovered was an approximately 6 foot long section of the cabin hull bottom, from the aft hull-step forward.
Further examination of the airplane is pending, subsequent to its recovery from the lake.
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