ANC97LA017
ANC97LA017

On January 2, 1997, at 1202 Alaska standard time, a tundra tire equipped Cessna 185F, N23CB, crashed after takeoff about 4 miles northwest of Nome, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) local area personal flight when the accident occurred. The airplane, operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The certificated private pilot was not injured. The sole passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that he and the passenger were preparing to depart on a volunteer search and rescue flight. A front seat belt became lodged under the fuel selector handle located on the cockpit floor between the two front seats. When the seat belt was pulled loose, the long pointer end of the fuel selector handle broke off. The pilot positioned the remaining rotating portion of the selector to what appeared to the "Both" fuel tank position. After departure, the engine suddenly quit about 200 feet above the ground and the pilot performed an emergency landing on snow covered terrain. The airplane received damage to the fuselage, landing gear and wings. Following the accident, the pilot reported that he found the fuel selector positioned to the "Off" position. The pilot indicated that without the long end of the pointer attached, the selector could be rotated 360 degrees to the "Off" position.

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