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Accident Brief: Cessna 172 Skyhawk Crash In California

NTSB accident brief
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Cessna 172 Skyhawk

Pescadero, California/Injuries: 1 Fatal

Radar data indicated that the pilot departed around dusk and proceeded over the ocean, paralleling the coastline for about 20 miles before radar contact was lost about 3 miles offshore. Several persons in a campground that overlooked the ocean, witnessed an aircraft impact the water a few miles offshore; although they immediately notified law enforcement, who in turn notified the US Coast Guard (USCG), based on the lack of any reported missing or distressed aircraft in the region, the USCG did not initiate a physical search of the reported impact site at that time.

The airplane was leased by a flying club and was discovered missing the following day when it could not be located by a club member who had scheduled to fly it. A USCG search several days later in the area of the last radar contact revealed no evidence of the missing airplane or pilot.

According to the flying club president, the pilot was not authorized to fly any of the club airplanes solo at the time of his disappearance, although he had been previously. To date, no subsequent traces of either the missing pilot or the airplane have been located; the airplane is presumed destroyed by impact in the ocean, and the pilot is presumed to have been fatally injured.

Probable cause(s): Impact with the ocean for reasons that could not be determined because the airplane was not located.

Note: The report republished here is from the NTSB and is printed verbatim and in its complete form.

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