SEA02LA037
SEA02LA037

On December 11, 2001, a Mooney M20C, N5774Q, was reported missing, and is presumed to have crashed, after failing to arrive at Port Angeles, Washington, the pilot's planned destination. The airplane was registered to the pilot, and was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot-in-command and passenger are presumed to have been fatally injured in the accident. The flight originated from Arcata, California, about 1600 PST. No flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight.

According to friends and family members, the pilot departed Renton, Washington, on the morning of December 11. They indicated that the pilot intended to fly from Renton to Arcata, California, and then a final leg from Arcata to Port Angeles later that day.

Personnel from the Arcata-Eureka Airport reported that the pilot arrived in Arcata on the afternoon of December 11. They reported that after being fueled (approximately 38 gallons of 100LL) the airplane departed Arcata. The exact time of departure is unknown, however, personnel at the airport estimated that the aircraft's departure time was about 1600 PST.

On the evening of December 11, after being reported as overdue, a search for the aircraft was initiated by the Oregon Civil Air Patrol and the United States Coast Guard.

Personnel from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, reported that radar data was recorded for an aircraft that departed the Arcata-Eureka Airport about the same departure time as the accident aircraft. The radar data indicated that the aircraft was traveling northbound along the Pacific coastline at variable altitudes below 1,000 feet mean sea level (MSL). The radar track continued northbound to a location near the Brookings State Airport. Additional radar targets were identified, however, it is not known if these targets were associated with the missing aircraft.

On December 19, 2001, a small "hip pack" was recovered from a beach near Oceanside, Oregon. According to the Tillamook County Sheriff's Office, the pack contained business cards belonging to the passenger of the accident aircraft. On December 22, 2001, a laptop computer belonging to the passenger of the accident aircraft was recovered from a beach area near Netarts, Oregon, which is located three miles south of Oceanside. Pieces of aircraft wreckage, to include a nose wheel assembly and a main landing gear wheel assembly were later recovered from the general area where the laptop computer and pack were recovered.

The 1553 Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) at Arcata-Eureka Airport, reported winds from 130 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; overcast skies at 1,500 feet above ground level (AGL).

The 1755 Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) at Astoria, Oregon, reported winds from 090 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; overcast clouds at 1,900 feet AGL.

The Oregon Civil Air Patrol suspended the search for the missing aircraft on January 10, 2002.

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