May 10, 2004, Julian, Calif. / Piper PA-44-180


After being cleared to descend from 8000 feet, the Piper Seminole collided with mountainous terrain while in cruise. Night VMC prevailed for the IFR flight from Phoenix Deer Valley to McClellan-Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, Calif.; both private pilots were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Traveling west and approaching the Julian VOR, the airplane descended to 5200 feet in response to an ATC instruction. The airplane subsequently impacted trees on a 5500-foot ridgeline, 668 feet southeast of the Julian VOR.


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