This February 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 Seminole. Injuries: 3 Minor. Location: Piru, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The student pilot and flight instructor were conducting a series of simulated instrument approaches at night when the plane started to encounter light to moderate turbulence. As one of the practice approaches was terminated, the airplane encountered severe turbulence followed by both engines losing power.
The CFI initiated a forced landing to a dark area adjacent to a highway. During the descent, the CFI stated he was able to restart the left engine but had no throttle response and was unable to restart the right engine. The CFI was unable to see the ground until the airplane was about 50 feet above ground level. Subsequently, the airplane hit trees and the ground before it came to rest within a small open field. Recovery personnel reported that 20 gallons of fuel were drained from each wing fuel tank.
Examination of the recovered airframe and fuel system revealed no evidence of pre-impact anomalies. Examination of the left and right engines and system components revealed no evidence of pre-impact mechanical anomalies.
Probable cause: The loss of engine power for undetermined reasons. Contributing factors were the lack of suitable terrain for the forced landing and dark night conditions.
For more information: NTSB.gov