Pilot Reported Engine Problems Prior To Ditching The Airplane Near The Beach

The NTSB has released a preliminary report from an incident which occurred July 16, 2019 at about 1815 EDT involving a Cessna 172RG airplane which the the pilot ditched in the ocean near Ocean City, MD. 

The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot, who was conducting an aerial survey flight when the accident occurred. VFR conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Reedville Airport (VA98), Reedville, VA.

According to the report, the purpose of the flight was to spot fish in support of a commercial fishing operation. He said that, at 3,000 ft. above the water, and 8 miles offshore, the engine began to shake and lose rpm. In an effort to avoid ditching the airplane in the ocean waters, he navigated to the shoreline and the nearest airport. When it became evident, he was unable to reach the airport, he ditched the airplane in the shallow waters of the ocean surf to avoid bystanders on the beach. The airplane sustained substantial damage to right elevator.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series engine and a detailed engine examination is pending.

The closest weather reporting facility is Ocean City Municipal Airport (KOXB), Ocean City, Maryland. At 1753, a METAR from KOXB was reporting in part: wind, 190° at 8 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; sky condition, clear; temperature, 84° F; dew point 75° F; and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury.

(Source: NTSB. Image provided by the town of Ocean City, MD)

FMI: Report