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On October 31, 1995, at 1500 atlantic standard time, a Piper PA- 23-250, N250HP, was substantially damaged following a collision with water near Isbela Segunda, Puerto Rico. The airline transport pilot and three passengers were fatally injured in the accident. The aircraft was being operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 by Isla Nena Air Service, Incorporated, of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed for the local, maintenance test flight. The flight departed Vieques Airport at an undetermined time.
The aircraft owner stated that the aircraft had not been flown in several months, and that the mechanic had been working on the aircraft prior to the flight.
A witness stated that during a steep crosswind departure at about 200 feet MSL (mean sea level) the aircraft's forward baggage door, located on the nose, had opened. He heard the power being reduced, and observed the aircraft begin to buffet. The witness added that the aircraft had "entered a stall." Power was added and the aircraft dove into the water with the left wing low, about 200 feet off the shore line, and sunk in about 15 feet of water.
The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He held a first class medical certificate with no waivers/limitations, issued in October of 1994.
The pilot's flight experience was obtained from the Aviation Office of American Inc. Pilot Experience Form, dated October 16, 1995.
Additional personnel information may be obtained in this report on Page 3 under section titled First Pilot Information.
The Piper Aztec, PA-23-250, is a six place, multiengine, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane. The aircraft had a normal airworthiness certificate.
General maintenance and repair was performed on the aircraft prior to the flight. The maintenance logs were not completed before the flight to reflect corrective actions taken, or to indicate approval for return to service.
According to the FAA Program Tracking & Reporting SubSystem, N250HP had been subject to three ramp checks since March 9, 1995, and the aircraft operator had been advised five times of maintenance problems found during the inspections. In addition, Isla Nena Air Service, Inc. had been issued a condition notice on N250HP by the FAA on December 23, 1994 as a result of unspecified unsafe aircraft maintenance conditions.
On August 31, 1995, in the aircraft discrepancy column of the aircraft maintenance and flight log, it had been recorded that the "front baggage door locking pin, not engaging." the maintenance log did not indicate that any corrective action had been taken.
The weather at the time of the accident was reported by a station 45 nautical miles away as visual meteorological conditions.
Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report on page 3 under the section titled Weather Information.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located 200 feet off shore in 15 feet of water. The aircraft was recovered and placed on a roadway of a military installation for examination.
The forward baggage door was found open and had sustained minor damage due to impact. A piece of sheet metal was found swiveled across the handle and held in place by a screw and a washer. The front latch assembly was found loose and not secured. The area of the door where the front latch is normally secured was broken away from the door. There were three places in the area of the front latch, that had improper repairs where cracking was observed. The cracks in the metal surrounding the front latch attach point had corrosion, and the metal appeared to have been bent in both directions. The aft door latch assembly was rusted, and the metal surrounding the attach point was fractured. The fractures appeared old, and there was corrosion in the cracked area.
The horizontal stabilator, vertical stabilizer, and rudder, were still attached to the fuselage. One stabilator control cable appeared cut, and the other showed evidence of tensile overload. One rudder control cable appeared cut and the other showed evidence of tensile overload.
The left wing displayed signs of impact damage. The wing was bent upward, outboard of the nacelle, and the aileron, flap, engine cowling, wing tip, and landing gear had detached. Control continuity was established into the cabin area, and the control stops were in place. The aileron control rod had separated at the bellcrank eye bolt and was not recovered.
The left propeller exhibited "S" bending, and the internal pitch change mechanism was broken. The engine examination of the left engine revealed continuity of the engine drive train,and compression in all cylinders. The distributer diaphragm was torn; fuel was present in the fuel injector.
The right wing had evidence of impact damage, and was bent upward. The engine cowling, and landing gear had separated and were recovered. The aileron, flap, and wing tip had separated and were not recovered. Control continuity was established into the cabin area, and the control stops were in place.
The right propeller exhibited "S" bending. The engine examination of the right engine revealed continuity of the engine drive train, and compression in all cylinders. Aluminum particles were found in the oil pressure screen, the p-lead wire was loose and worn, the left magneto filter condenser shielding was pulled away, and the alternate air box was severely worn. The distributer diaphragm was torn; fuel was not found in the system.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of Miguel Patrick Rodriguez was performed by Dr. Yocasta Brugal of the Instituto de Ciencias Forenses, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A toxicological examination of Miguel Patrick Rodriguez was performed by Lcda. Marie C. Lopez Balaez. The examination was negative for ethanol or drugs.
The aircraft wreckage was released to Jorge D. Perez, Co-owner of the aircraft, on November 4, 1995.