CHI97FAMS4
CHI97FAMS4

On September 14, 1997, at 1553 eastern daylight time (edt), a Piper PA-28-235, N9399W, registered to and operated by a private pilot, was observed departing Drummond Island, Michigan, with the intended destination of Howell, Michigan. The airplane, pilot and passenger have been missing since that time. A search did not locate either the airplane or the pilot and passenger. The personal 14 CFR flight was operating in instrument meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The airplane is presumed destroyed and the pilot and passenger are presumed to have sustained fatal injuries.

According to Toronto Air Route Traffic Control Center NTAP data, the airplane departed Drummond Island at 1553 edt and was observed flying 20 to 25 miles south then turning 180 degrees before disappearing from their radar.

A friend of the pilot said that the pilot normally flew direct GPS and was known to experience vertigo easily. Other pilots reported that the weather that day went down to 200 feet overcast.

The Coast Guard and the Civil Air Patrol initiated a search. They searched for four days, before abandoning the search for lack of sighting evidence of the airplane. The search determined the airplane never reached its intended destination on September 14, 1997. There were sightings of low flying aircraft over I-75, but the Civil Air Patrol was unsuccessful in locating N9399W.

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