August 26, 2005, Dunkirk, N.Y. / Piper PA-28RT-201


The airplane was presumed destroyed at about 2115 Eastern time when radar contact was lost over Lake Erie. The Commercial pilot and two passengers were presumed fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed. According to FAA radar and communication records, the airplane approached Niagara Falls from the south at about 2050. The airplane then completed four 360-degree turns in the vicinity of the falls. Shortly, the pilot requested flight following services to Pennsylvania and was established on an approximate 210-degree ground track. Soon, the airplane began a sharp turn to the left. Over the next 70 seconds through 270 degrees of turn, its altitude varied between 4700 and 4400 feet before the airplane disappeared from radar. Search and rescue operations recovered three seats and personal effects.


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