The Airplane Had Impacted Steep Rising Mountainous Terrain At An Elevation Of About 4,200 Ft Mean Sea Level

Location: Challis, ID Accident Number: WPR22LA238
Date & Time: June 26, 2022, 19:45 Local Registration: N1231C
Aircraft: Piper PA-20-135 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On June 26, 2022, about 1945 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-20-135, N1231C, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Challis, Idaho. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. A friend of the pilot reported that he and the accident pilot were camping at Johnson Creek (3U2), Yellow Pine, Idaho.

Earlier in the day they had flown to Lower Loon Creek Airstrip (C53), Challis, Idaho, and due to the density altitude, they waited to depart from C53 until later that evening for the return flight to 3U2. He further added that at the time of departure, the density altitude was indicating about 6,200 ft. He observed the accident airplane depart to the north, climb, and then turn back toward the runway about 1930. He last observed the accident airplane on a southbound heading. Shortly after departing from C53, he observed smoke, which he believed to be a small ground fire. After landing and refueling at McCall Municipal Airport (KMYL), he continued his flight to 3U2 where he expected to meet with the accident pilot and passenger. They had not arrived, and he reported N1231C as missing.

First responders located the airplane wreckage by air the following day about 1 ½ miles north of C53. On June 28, they accessed the accident site and reported that the airplane had impacted steep rising mountainous terrain at an elevation of about 4,200 ft mean sea level (msl) on an approximate southerly heading. The main wreckage came to rest upright about 30 ft below the first identified point of impact and was mostly consumed by fire. All major structural components of the airplane were observed at the accident site.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.