On July 24, 1994, about 1507 eastern daylight time, a Piper Aerostar 601, N63317, registered to Island Air Export, Inc., was ditched in the Atlantic Ocean 23 nautical miles east-northeast from the Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a VFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was not recovered and is presumed to be destroyed. The airline transport-rated pilot sustained serious injuries. The flight originated about 1458 from the Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida.

The pilot stated that smoke and heat started coming from under the instrument panel followed by failure of the communication radios. He then turned off the master battery switch and smoke "poured" out from under the instrument panel. He elected to ditch the airplane near a boat and he was rescued by the occupants.

The airplane was not recovered; therefore, no determination could be made as to the reason for the reported smoke in the cockpit.

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