On January 5, 1997, at 0049 central standard time, a Beech 23, N8723M, was destroyed upon impact with wires and terrain near Santa Catarina, Mexico. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident. A Mexican VFR flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight originated at the McAllen Miller International Airport, near McAllen, Texas, at approximately 0930, with one intermediate stop made at the Reynosa International Airport (MMRX) to clear Mexican Customs and file a flight plan. The flight's destination was the Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (MMPR) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

According to local authorities, the airplane was attempting to cross the Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains, just west of Monterrey, Mexico, by navigating along federal highway 40 on the Huatesco Canyon. The local commander of the Mexican Judicial Police reported that the airplane impacted high tension wires crossing above the highway and subsequently impacted terrain. The commander added that fog obscured the mountain pass between the cities of Monterrey and Saltillo. A post impact fire destroyed the airplane.

The pilot received his private certificate on October 3, 1951. He served as Special Assistant to U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson when she served as Vice Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

The ongoing investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Mexico. Based on the information presently provided by the Mexican authorities, the Safety Board will participate in the investigation in a non-travel status. Hector Casanova has been appointed as Accredited Representative for the United States. Any further information may be obtained from:

Direccion General de Aviacion Civil (DGAC) Providencia 807 - Cuarto Piso Colonia del Valle 03100 Mexico, D.F., Mexico Telephone 525-762-9538

The investigator-in-charge is Comandante Francisco Franco, of the Mariano Escobedo International Airport (MMMY) in Monterrey, Mexico. Telephone 528-345-6634. This report is for informational purposes only and contains only information released or obtained by the Government of Mexico.

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