At approximately 1950 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of control during climb. The non-instrument-rated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
At 1939, ATC cleared the pilot to take off from a nearby towered airport. Subsequently, he contacted a different ATC facility to request VFR flight-following services and was advised to squawk a beacon code of “5576” but, at 1950, before the airplane was radar identified, the pilot radioed, “I’m in trouble.”
Moments later, both radar and radio contact was lost. The wreckage was discovered around noon the next day seven miles from the departure airport; the airplane’s impact was measured at an approximate 45-degree nose-down angle. Weather observed at the departure airport at 1953 included visibility 10 miles and broken clouds at 1400 feet.