The airplane was substantially damaged at 1330 Eastern time during impact with trees and terrain following a total loss of engine power in cruise flight. The private pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The aircraft was cruising at 7500 feet msl when the engine began to “surge,” then stopped producing power. An engine restart attempt was unsuccessful and the pilot selected a forced landing area in a clearing, but the airplane entered trees prior to the clearing and came to rest upright in flat, heavily wooded terrain. Preliminary examination of the engine revealed metal particles in the oil filter.