On September 23, 1999, about 0859 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177, N3342T, registered to RNI Inc., and operated by Bay Air Flying Service Inc., as a 14 CFR Part 91 business flight, ditched near St. Petersburg, Florida, following loss of engine power. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was substantially damaged, and the commercial-rated pilot and passenger were not injured. The flight originated from Albert Whitted Municipal Airport, St. Petersburg, Florida, the same day, about 0610.

The pilot stated that while engaged in traffic reporting duties, at about 1,000 feet, 6 miles southwest of the Albert Whitted Municipal Airport, the engine started to sputter and there was a loss of engine power. The pilot further stated that she performed the emergency checklist, turned toward Albert Whitted Municipal Airport, and made a radio call. She attempted to regain cruise power, but the engine would not produce enough power to maintain altitude. She ditched the airplane in shallow water, in the vicinity of Tierra Verde, where both she and the passenger were rescued.

According to an FAA inspector who conducted a postcrash examination of the airplane, the throttle control cable clamp, located just aft of the carburetor was loose from the throttle housing, and made a bow upwards without fully manipulating the throttle control arm.

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