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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45814
Last updated: 22 November 2019
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BE23 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft A23-24 Muskeeter Super III
Registration: N5962S
C/n / msn: MA-46
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Bridgeville, DE -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Departure airport:Greenwood, DE (DE17)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
The pilot, an orthopedic surgeon, departed his home airport and flew over the local area for about 1 hour. The airplane was observed circling over a cornfield, and initially climbed, but then descended rapidly into the terrain. Witnesses stated that the engine noise could be heard, and was consistent throughout the accident. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Review of the pilot's medical and pharmacy records revealed a history of Hodgkin's disease, substantial damage to his gastrointestinal tract, hypothyroidism, gall bladder disease, and coronary artery bypass surgery. In addition, the pilot required most of his calories to be delivered intravenously through a surgically placed port in his chest. Within 1 year prior to the accident, the pilot had filled prescriptions for Synthroid, Zoloft, Deseryl, Prozac, Imodium, and Lasix. The pilot wrote all of his most recent prescriptions. However, on his most recent application for an FAA third class medical certificate, the pilot listed only Synthroid as a currently used medication. An aviation medical examiner noted the pilot's weight at 152 pounds, and his height at 71 inches. The examiner did not issue a medical certificate, and deferred it to the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division, citing the Hodgkin's disease, coronary artery disease, bowel adhesions, and "a central line which he still uses for occasional enteral feeding." The Manager of the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division authorized a special issuance of a third class medical certificate, but did not mention the abdominal problems, the presence of a central line, or the need for parenteral feeding. The Manager did note a history of coronary artery disease. Toxicological testing performed on the pilot revealed sertraline and tramadol present in the blood. The level of sertraline present in the blood was more than five times higher than would be expected from maximum recommended dosage. The level of tramadol in the blood was almost twenty times the maximum level expected from a typical single dose of the drug. Sertraline (Zoloft) is a prescription antidepressant, and tramadol is a prescription narcotic-like painkiller.
Probable Cause: The pilot's incapacitation, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control while maneuvering. A factor was the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division's inadequate certification/approval of the pilot's medical certificate. Findings were the pilot's inappropriate use of medication, and depression.



Revision history:

28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
10-Dec-2017 11:53 ASN Update Bot Updated [Source, Narrative]

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