On August 6, 1993, at approximately 1300 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172RG, N9633B, was destroyed when it collided with trees and the terrain while maneuvering in a mountain pass near Salida, Colorado. The airplane, owned and operated by the private pilot, was on a personal cross country flight. There was no flight plan filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area. The pilot and the two passengers received serious injuries.

The flight had departed Garden City, Kansas, at about 1030 central daylight time, en route to a planned fuel stop in Gunnison, Colorado. The pilot stated that the flight was routine as he entered the pass west of Pueblo, Colorado, and began climbing as he followed the highway. He said that the climb continued to about 10,500 feet MSL, at which point he had Monarch Pass in sight on the horizon. The pilot stated that he then decided to make a right 360 degree turn to gain additional altitude. Ground witnesses, working at a ski resort located under the airplane's flight path, stated they observed the airplane enter a right turn into rising terrain and trees. They subsequently heard the airplane impact trees and then the ground and proceeded to the crash site to offer assistance. The witnesses, as well as the pilot stated that the engine sounded normal and appeared to be developing power. Neither the pilot nor either of the passengers recalled any of the accident sequence after the pilot started the turn.

The ski resort's weather station, located at the 10,850 foot level recorded the temperature as being 65 degrees fahrenheit at 1245 MDT. The density altitude would have been 14,300 feet MSL. The reported service ceiling for the airplane was 16,800 feet. Maps of the accident site indicated that a left turn would have taken the airplane toward descending terrain.

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