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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: CHI07FA290
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, September 03, 2007 in Kelleys Island, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/26/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 172C, registration: N1301Y
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The non-instrument rated pilot departed to the east from the island airport at night. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane descend into Lake Erie shortly after takeoff. A resident of the island used his rowboat to rescue the surviving passenger. Post accident inspection of the airframe and engine failed to reveal any mechanical failure/malfunction that would have resulted in the accident. The departure end of the runway is approximately 200 feet from the lakeshore. The closest ground reference would have been the Ohio shoreline located about 10 miles south (to the right of) of the airplane's position.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
  • The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane due to spatial disorientation. Contributing to the accident were the water and dark night conditions which resulted in the lack of ground references during the takeoff.