The sport pilot of the experimental, amateur-built, amphibious Buccaneer IIB flew to meet a friend to camp for the night along a river in Mayo, Florida.
He landed on the river to the north, flying over power lines during the landing approach, and pulled the airplane onto the shore. The pilot then offered to help his friend search for a life vest that had floated downstream after he finished unloading the gear from the airplane.
Multiple witnesses watched as he departed northbound on the river, made a 180° turn southbound, then flew over the river, beneath treetop level, and out of sight.
They reported hearing a loud “boom” and the engine noise stop just before a power outage occurred.
One witness reported seeing the airplane flying 30′ to 40′ above the river when it “suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water.” The pilot died in the crash.
One witness reported that the sky was grey and overcast, and that the sun was setting about the time of the accident, making the power lines difficult to see.
The powerlines directly overhead of the accident site displayed striations consistent with the airplane hitting the powerlines.
It is likely that, while flying along the river at low altitude, the pilot failed to see the powerlines, which resulted in an in-flight collision with the powerlines and impact with the river.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to see and avoid power lines while flying at low altitude.
NTSB Identification: ERA17FA088
This January 2017 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.