Friday, January 14, 2022

Cirrus SR22, N879CD: Accident occurred January 13, 2022 in Lexington, South Carolina

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina

Ridgeland Partners LLC

Location: Lexington, South Carolina 
Accident Number: ERA22LA109
Date and Time: January 13, 2022, 13:26 Local
Registration: N879CD
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On January 13, 2022, about 1326 eastern standard time, a Cirrus SR-22, N879CD, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Lexington, South Carolina. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, a preflight inspection of the airplane was conducted with no anomalies noted. He stated, “I checked the oil quantity and added one quart of oil.” The pilot conducted a run-up and departed for Charleston Air Force Base/International Airport (CHS), Charleston, South Carolina, on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan about 1300. About 20 minutes into the flight, at 5,500 ft, the pilot reported seeing a red oil annunciator light illuminate, followed by the oil pressure gauge fall to zero pressure. The pilot stated that the engine tachometer was near red line and that the engine sounded like it was over speeding, so he reduced the throttle to slow the engine. He radioed air traffic control and reported an emergency, then started looking for a place to land. He was over the middle of Lake Murray, so he held off deploying the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) until he was closer to the shoreline. At 2,000 ft he deployed the CAPS and the airplane slowly descended to the water, the airplane floated for a few minutes before the wind started to push it away from the shoreline, so the pilot and passenger dove off the wing and swam to the shoreline.

A post-accident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed substantial damage to the fuselage and left elevator. Additionally, the engine exhibited a hole on the top of the case near the No. 6 cylinder.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N879CD
Model/Series: SR22
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CAE,225 ft msl 
Observation Time: 13:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C /-2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots / , 260°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.86 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Greenville, SC (GMU)
Destination: Charleston, SC (CHS)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.025668,-81.375437 (est)

LAKE MURRAY SHORES, South Carolina — On Thursday, a small plane crashed into Lake Murray around 1:45pm.
According to officials, two passengers were aboard the plane, and no one was injured. 

One resident told News 19, he thought it was gun shots. 

"I was just sitting here, and I heard a loud bang. It sounded like a shotgun shell," said Clay Morley. "So, I went out the front door to see if I could find something. The first thing I did, I looked across the street and saw six men building a pole barn, and still working, so it couldn't have been too much. Then my son calls me up. He lives across the cove. And he said, 'did you see that plane in a parachute come down"' I said, 'What?' And he said, 'Yeah, a parachute on the plane underneath it.'"

Morley said he has been living in his home since 1989, and has never seen a plane crash into the lake. His son Mike also shared what he witnessed from his home.

"It was a loud bang," Mike Morley said. "I didn't know what happened. I didn't hear the plane come over, that's the thing."

He says he saw the plane in the trees near his home. 

"I go outside, and I'm looking around, and then all of a sudden, above those two trees, I see a nice big orange parachute," Mike Morley said. "And ... I'm looking around for smoke because I thought 'that's a parachute, a plane hit the ground,' No smoke, and then I look back again. I said, 'there's a plane attached to that parachute.' I've never seen nothing like it. I just slowly watched it drift down. And I said, 'that's in the lake.'"

The FAA is currently investigating what caused the crash. 

The agency said the aircraft was traveling from Greenville Downtown Airport to Charleston International Airport when the crash occurred.

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