ATL96LA030
ATL96LA030

On January 7, 1996, at 1612 central standard time, a Piper PA-34-200T, ditched in the Gulf of Mexico approximately two miles south of Keesler Air Force Base near Gulfport, Mississippi. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with an instrument flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage; the commercial pilot and the three passengers received minor injuries. The flight departed St. Petersburg, Florida, at 1400 eastern standard time.

The pilot reported that during the preflight planning, he estimated that the airplane would require 67 gallons of fuel to complete the flight. He added 20 gallons of fuel to the fuel system, but he did not state that the airplane fuel system was topped off before the departure from St, Petersburg. The pilot estimated that 85 gallons of fuel were onboard at takeoff (see attached pilot's aircraft accident report NTSB Form 6120.1/2).

According to the pilot, they were enroute to the Isle of Capri Casino, in Gulfport, and they were about three hours into the flight, when they experienced a complete loss of power on the left engine followed by a complete loss of engine power on the right engine. The loss of engine power occurred about 2 miles south of the Gulfport shoreline. After attempts to restart the engines, the pilot prepared the passengers for a water landing, and instructed them to brace for the impact. The airplane ditched about 1 1/4 south of the shoreline. Within a few minutes of the ditching, a local fisherman rescued the four occupants from the water.

Following the recovery of the airplane from the water, the fuel system was examined. During this examination, no fuel was recovered from the fuel system. No airplane mechanical problems were reported by the pilot.

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