Passenger Went On To Explain That Collision With The Dock Was Inevitable

Location: Beechhurst, NY Accident Number: ERA21LA004
Date & Time: October 4, 2020, 15:05 Local Registration: N6506M
Aircraft: CESSNA 182 Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 4, 2020, about 1505 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182P amphibious airplane, N6506M, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Beechhurst, New York. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger in the copilot seat were seriously injured, and a rear-seated passenger was fatally injured.

The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were interviewed by New York Police Department (NYPD) detectives and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors. The pilot reported he did not remember the events surrounding the accident. The pilot-rated passenger provided versions of events to the interviewers that were consistent throughout.

The purpose of the flight was to fly from Brookhaven Airport (HWV), Shirley, New York, to the pilot’s home on the south bank of the East River between the Throgs Neck Bridge and the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.

The passenger stated that the pilot initiated the landing approach on the eastern side of the Throgs Neck Bridge and flew the approach westbound and beneath the bridge “as they normally do.” He said that as the airplane touched down on the water, they noticed a boat had recently crossed their intended landing path and created a wake, which the airplane struck, causing it to “bounce twice.”

According to the passenger, the pilot appeared to “veer left” to avoid the wake but realized the airplane was “too fast” as it approached a concrete pier on the river’s southern bank. The pilot then increased throttle to initiate a go-around. The passenger went on to explain that collision with the dock was inevitable, and that if the pilot “were to have cut the power, the crash would have been a lot less forceful.”

In a written statement, a pilot-rated witness travelling eastbound by boat about 200-300 yards west of the airplane’s initial touchdown point said the airplane was landing downwind with an estimated tailwind of 10-15 knots. He stated, “First water contact was nearly level and produced a very high rebound. Second contact appeared to be left pontoon only which may have skewed the craft to the south leading to the impact.” The witness then responded to the scene and provided first aid and assistance to the occupants.

Review of surveillance video recovered by NYPD detectives revealed only a brief view of the airplane prior to impact. The airplane was travelling in a nose-high attitude, with both pontoons in the water when it collided with the pier. The pontoons were seen to generate white foam and spray and a noticeable wake.

Examination of photographs revealed the airplane sustained significant impact damage. The engine was separated from its mounts, and the floats were entangled with the fuselage. The airplane was recovered to an aircraft recovery facility where it was retained for further examination.