March 6, 2009, Oceanside, Calif., Cessna 172N


The airplane collided with the water about 40 nm west of Ocean-side, Calif., at 1253 Pacific time and was destroyed. The solo private pilot is presumed to have sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Radar data indicate the aircraft climbed along the coastline on a northerly heading, then made a left turn and continued around Catalina Island. At 1252:37, the aircraft was maintaining a heading toward San Diego at 13,700 feet MSL. The target then began a descending right turn and disappeared from radar in less than a minute. Witnesses observed an airplane in a nose-down attitude collide with water.


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