This October 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: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Palo Pinto, Texas. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to exercise the engine and aircraft for an hour. He flew a circular route and was returning when he decided to get a closer look at the animals that were in the Brazos River bottom. The aircraft descended into the river gorge and flew into power lines ran that from the top of one cliff to another. The lines were 112 feet above the riverbed. The lines had a 900 foot span and no markers.
Probable cause: The pilot’s intentional low-level flight and failure to maintain a visual lookout.
For more information: NTSB.gov