The pilot reported that while taxiing to the active runway in Athens, Tennessee, about 50 yards ahead, he saw what appeared to be a black oval, four to five feet in diameter on the taxiway.
He stated that he believed it was a wet spot or an area of new pavement, and started to steer around it.
As he approached the spot, he glanced off to the left and saw sink holes in the field, then he looked back towards the taxiway and suddenly the Cessna 182 sank into the taxiway.
The airplane came to a stop after the right wheel fell into the sink hole and the fuselage hit the taxiway surface. The hole had opened up to about nine to 10 feet across and seven to eight feet deep.
The fuselage was substantially damaged in the accident.
During a post-accident interview, the airport manager stated that she was unaware of sink holes on any safety areas at the airport, including this taxiway.
After the accident, the airport immediately issued a notice to airmen closing the taxiway.
Probable cause: The failure of the taxiway surface due to a sink hole, which resulted in the right main landing gear sinking into terrain causing substantial damage to the fuselage.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA173
This July 2015 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.