Before departure for a positioning flight in Brooklyn, Iowa, the pilot was told that an observer/passenger would be joining him for the flight. The Cessna 206, which was typically used in skydiving operations, had its right cabin door removed, and a fabric roll-up jump door had been installed, which was not closed during the flight.
The pilot reported that the passenger sat behind him on the right side of the airplane and that he heard him attach his seatbelt. During the flight, the passenger moved forward in the cabin, which resulted in the his reserve parachute inadvertently deploying and the passenger being pulled through the open jump door.
The passenger hit the doorframe, and the parachute became entangled with the empennage, which resulted in a loss of control and a subsequent aerodynamic stall. The parachute eventually separated from the empennage, and the pilot was able to regain control of the airplane and land it without further incident.
A post-accident examination revealed that the passenger had inadvertently attached his seatbelt to the handle that released the reserve parachute. When the passenger moved, the reserve parachute deployed.
The pilot did not conduct a safety briefing before the flight, however, the improper routing of the seatbelt may not have been identified even if he had conducted a safety briefing. Additionally, if the jump door had been closed, it is likely that the passenger would not have been pulled out of the airplane and killed.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the improper routing of the seatbelt, which resulted in the inadvertent deployment of the reserve parachute, and the open jump door, which allowed the passenger to be pulled from the airplane.
NTSB Identification: CEN13LA500
This August 2013 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.