This January 2008 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Location: Miami. Injuries: None. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The CFI and pilot receiving instruction were at the training area for about 30 minutes, at 2,000 feet AGL practicing steep turns, then headed back to the airport. About 10 miles west of the airport they contacted the control tower requesting instructions for landing. They were told to report four miles out for a straight-in approach. The Cherokee was at an altitude of 1,500 about six miles from the airport when the engine lost power. The CFI took control and attempted to restore power but was unsuccessful, so he declared an emergency. The Cherokee came down in a swamp near the airport.
The post-accident investigation revealed that the throttle cable housing lower sleeve detached from the upper housing. When the throttle in the cockpit was moved from idle to full power, the carburetor throttle arm could be held in idle with little force with one finger.
Probable cause: A loss of engine power due to the failure of the throttle cable.
For more information: NTSB.gov