On July 1, 1995, at 0945 hours Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA28-161, N8399T, struck power lines during an attempted return to airport maneuver at Carmel Valley Airport, Carmel Valley, California. The maneuver was initiated by the pilot because of a perceived loss of engine power in the takeoff initial climb. The airplane was destroyed. The certificated private pilot and his passenger were seriously injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident for a destination of Monterey Peninsula Airport, Monterey, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot's written report, he stated that he performed a preflight inspection and that the aircraft had 7 gallons of fuel. After taking off and reaching an altitude of 450 feet agl, the airplane lost engine power. The pilot initiated an immediate right turn towards the airport. After completing the emergency checklist, the pilot realized that the airplane would not glide back to the airport. He then chose an area away from people and structures for an emergency landing. After landing, the pilot shut off the master switch and waited for emergency personnel.

Responding fire department personnel reported that the right wing fuel tank contained no fuel. The left wing tank "contained very little fuel."

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector from the San Jose, California, Flight Standards District Office, examined the aircraft. He reported that the amount of fuel in each tank was measured at less than 1 gallon in the right tank and about 5 gallons in the left. The fuel selector was found positioned between the left and right fuel tank. The inspector also reported that no fuel is available at the Carmel Valley Airport.

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