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N9HC accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Battlement Mesa, CO
39.441367°N, 108.025074°W

Tail number N9HC
Accident date 15 Mar 1994
Aircraft type Beech 95-B55B
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On March 15, 1994, approximately 0310 mountain standard time, a Beech 95-B55B, N9HC, was destroyed when it impacted terrain 8 miles southeast of Battlement Mesa, Colorado. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The following is based on telephone conversations with, and reports filed by, the Aspen Police Department and the Garfield County Sheriff's Office. On the afternoon and evening of March 14, the pilot had dinner with friends and consumed alcoholic beverages at several night clubs. He became separated from his friends shortly after midnight. A taxi driver told police that about 0030, he picked up the pilot and drove him to the Rifle Airport, arriving approximately 0200. He said the pilot slept during the trip, and he described him as being "hammered." The pilot told the driver he was going to get in his airplane and "sleep it off" before departing. The driver said the pilot looked like he had "just slept off a couple hours of drunkenness." He left him standing next to the airplane with the keys in his hand. Police reports are an enclosure.

An off-duty Eagle County police dispatcher reported an unidentified airplane made low diving passes over her residence in South Rifle Village, located about 5 miles west of the Rifle Airport, between 0235 and 0305. The airplane then flew away towards the southwest. The pilot's friends reported him missing to the Aspen Police Department, and a subsequent ramp check at Rifle Airport at 0600 revealed the airplane was gone.


The wreckage was located by the Civil Air Patrol on March 17. It was embedded in a rock wall at the 10,550 foot level of Haystack Mountain, at Battlement Mesa, about 12 miles southwest of the Rifle Airport. The wreckage was aligned on a magnetic heading of 210 degrees. Accordion-type crush damaged extended from the nose section to the cockpit area. Both wings bore similar damage from the leading to the trailing edges. Both engines were fragmented.

The left engine was in the cabin area and the right engine was located 100 feet below the main body of wreckage. Both propeller assemblies separated from their respective engines. All of the blades were bent in an S-shape fashion, and had extensive leading edge damage, gouges, and 90 degree scratches on the cambered surfaces.


An autopsy was conducted on the pilot at Community Hospital, Grand Junction, Colorado. Toxicological analysis of specimens submitted to the U.S. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was positive for acetaldehyde (35 mg/dL, blood; 41 mg/dL, bile) and ethanol (200 mg/dL, blood; 220 mg/dL, bile).


The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on March 21, 1994.

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