Airplane Impacted The River And Sank In About 17 Ft Of Water

Location: Yulee, FL Accident Number: ERA21FA258
Date & Time: June 18, 2021, 11:06 Local Registration: N1300Q
Aircraft: Cessna 150 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Instructional

On June 18, 2021, about 1106 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150L, N1300Q, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Yulee, Florida. The flight instructor and a student pilot were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration, the flight departed Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport (FHB), Fernandina Beach, Florida about 1056 and proceeded on a northwesterly heading for about 7 miles until over the St. Mary’s River. No ATC services were provided. The airplane performed several 360° turns, about 800 to 1,000 ft mean sea level (msl). The last radar return was about 300 ft south of the accident site, at 800 ft msl.

Witnesses at a nearby boat dock reported that the airplane descended into the St. Mary’s River at a nearvertical, nose-down attitude. Two of the witnesses recalled that the engine was running until impact with the water.

The airplane impacted the river and sank in about 17 ft of water. There was no fire. The accident site was about 7 nm northwest of FHB. After recovery from the river, the wreckage was transported to an aircraft salvage facility for examination.

Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that all major structural components of the airplane were accounted for. The fixed, tricycle landing gear remained attached to the airframe. The wing flaps were found in the retracted position. The fixed-pitch propeller remained attached to the engine. Internal engine continuity was confirmed.

According to the operator, the airplane was purchased in December 2020 and was used for flight instruction since its purchase. According to the student pilot’s logbook, the accident flight was her fifth flight in the airplane, all with the same flight instructor. She had also logged flight instruction in a Diamond DA-20 airplane and had soloed in the DA-20. The flight instructor had logged about 4,000.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.