September 20, 2009, Lowndesville, S.C., Cessna 172


The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted Lake Russell at approximately 1106 Eastern time, killing the non-instrument-rated private pilot and the passenger. Instrument conditions prevailed; no flight plan was filed. According to the NTSB, the pilots most recent third-class medical certificate was issued in January 1992.

One witness reported hearing the airplanes engine “making a pop, pop sound intermittently,” then the airplane was observed descending out of the “very low” overcast in a 70-to-90-degree nose-down attitude with level wings The airplane crashed in water about four feet deep. An FAA inspector reported that the airspeed indicator depicted 150 miles per hour when the wreckage was examined. Weather recorded at a station 20 miles north of the accident site included an overcast cloud layer at 700 feet agl and a ceiling variable between 300 and 1000 feet agl.


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