CEN12LA652
CEN12LA652

On September 20, 2012, about 1545 central daylight time, a Beech 95-C55 airplane, N265Q, ditched into the Gulf of Mexico waters. The commercial pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane sank in deep water and was not recovered. The airplane was registered to and operated by Government Auctions Online LLC, Henderson, Nevada, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Baytown Airport (KHPY), Baytown, Texas, about 1400, and was destined to the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (KSRQ), Sarasota, Florida.

According to the pilot's statement provided to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), while the pilot was en route to his destination, when he detected smoke in the cockpit. In an attempt to troubleshoot the smoke, the pilot turned off the master switch. Due to reduced visibility, the pilot vented the smoke by opening the cabin door and pilot’s storm window. The pilot and passenger saw flames through a gap between the cockpit panel and glare shield. The pilot activated the emergency locator beacon as he descended to ditch the airplane in the water. After ditching the airplane, the pilot and passenger exited the airplane, donned personal floatation devices, and were rescued by the United States Coast Guard.

Due to the accident location, the airplane was not recovered for an examination. Despite multiple attempts, the pilot did not complete an NTSB Form 6120. Information was not available to determine if previous maintenance issues were present. A review of the FAA Service Difficulty Reporting database did not reveal any entries for the accident airplane. Without recovery of the airplane's wreckage, an examination was not possible and the source of the fire could not be determined.

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