January 6, 2011, Chester, Calif., Beech S35 Bonanza


The airplane impacted a lakes frozen snow-covered shoreline at about 1845 Pacific time, killing the private pilot and passenger. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the entire fuselage forward of the tailcone. Night visual conditions prevailed.

A witness heard an airplane to the southwest, and observed lights flying over the airport in a northbound direction. She stated the engine sound was normal and appropriate. A short time later she heard an airplane to the north, but this time the engine was much louder, with a sound she described as “full-bore.” Looking to the north, she then observed red, green and white lights fly from left to right in a sloping descent. The lights descended behind trees and towards the lake. She then heard the sound of a thud followed by the noise of cracking ice. First responders reported calm winds, clear skies and unlimited visibility at the accident site.


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