October 24, 2008, Albemarle, Va., Piper PA-24 Comanche


At about 1901 Eastern daylight time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain while being vectored for an instrument approach at the flights alternate airport. The private pilot and his passenger were killed. Night visual conditions prevailed. During the diversion to the alternate airport, ATC provided radar vectors for the approach. About seven minutes before the accident, the airplane began descending from its cruise altitude of 7000 feet. Shortly thereafter, the pilot issued multiple distress calls to ATC before the airplane was lost from radar. No further transmissions were received from the airplane.

The accident site was in a wooded area, approximately 12 miles south of the alternate airport. The initial ground impact point was evidenced by a crater measuring approximately 15 feet long, eight feet wide and two feet deep. The main wreckage was located 50 feet beyond the initial ground impact point.


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