On July 17, 1996, about 1435 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23-250, N6819Y, registered to LCE Inc., of Safety Harbor, Florida, operating as a Title 14 CFR Part 91, en route to Watchula, Florida, crashed in the vicinity of St. Petersburg, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the private pilot was not injured.

Shortly after takeoff the pilot reported that the right engine was running rough. The control tower cleared him for an emergency landing back to the airport. The pilot was unable to maintain altitude, and the flight impacted water about 1 mile south of the airport.

According to the pilot's statement, he was flying west bound over Tampa Bay, "when No. 2, right engine (quit) stopped." He stated that he "secured [the] right engine," and about 1 minute later the No. 1, left engine "stopped" and he "secured" the engine, and "hit water." The pilot stated that he was in the air about 15 minutes when the engine failures occurred.

In the NTSB Form 6120.1/2, under the box marked, Mechanical Malfunction Failure, the pilot indicated "YES," and his explanation was "fuel contamination."

The FAA stated that when the airplane was lifted from the water, the left propeller was "feathered", and the right propeller "was not." This was confirmed by the diver that observed the airplane when it was underwater. The FAA further stated that "extensive" damage was done to the airplane while it was being removed from the water.

Both engines were examined at Aviation Consultant Services Inc., Wimauma, Florida, on July 7, 1996. Examination of the right engine revealed, there was rusty water in the sediment bowl, at the fire wall. Rusty water and contamination was also found in the fuel servo screen. The left engine sediment bowl was found dry. The fuel servo screen was found with rust stains, and contamination with "trash" in the screen. The fuel selector valves operated with out any discrepancies. No discrepancies were found with either engine.

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