SEA99LA100
SEA99LA100

On July 3, 1999, about 1200 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350, N3528Y, registered to Mountain Bird, Inc. and operated by Salmon Air, Salmon, Idaho, as a 14CFR135 non-scheduled passenger flight, was substantially damaged after a forced landing near Garden Valley, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a company VFR flight plan was on file. The commercial pilot and five passengers were not injured; two passenger sustained minor injuries. The flight originated from Lemhi County Airport, Salmon, Idaho, approximately 30 minutes prior to the accident. The flight's original destination was Boise, Idaho. There was no report of fire or ELT activation.

The pilot reported that while in cruise configuration, the low fuel pressure lights illuminated and the left engine began to surge. The pilot selected cross-feed and the engine functioned normally . Three to four minutes after selecting cross-feed the left engine began to surge again. With the right engine still operating, the pilot secured the left engine and executed a forced landing in an open field. During the landing roll (approximately 30 knots), the aircraft collided with a ditch and the nose gear collapsed, causing substantial damage to the aircraft's fuselage.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector from the Boise Flight Standards District Office, Boise, Idaho, inspected the aircraft after the accident and reported that there was no evidence of fuel in the aircraft's fuel tanks. He also stated the fuel system was not breached and there was no evidence of a preexisting fuel leak.

In a written statement, the pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the aircraft at the time of the accident.

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