At 1245 Eastern time, the airplane collided with terrain while landing. The airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries; the airplane was substantially damaged by a post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed for the public-use flight.
The pilot was on a routine fire detection mission about 10 to 12 miles from the airport when he detected a “hot electrical” odor. He elected to divert and, while on short final, a large puff of smoke emitted from under the right side of the instrument panel near the circuit breaker panel. This distracted him. At almost the same time, the airplane hit turbulence that was severe enough that he hit his head on the ceiling and everything on the seats was thrown forward. When he turned his attention back to the airplane, the nose was down and all he could see was grass out of the windscreen. The airplane immediately hit the ground, the pilot egressed and the fire consumed all of the airplane except forward of the firewall, the wings from the fuel caps outboard and a portion of the empennage.