Plane Crash Involving Actor Patrick Swayze

On 1 June 2000, actor Patrick Swayze escaped injury after he made an emergency landing in a housing development in Prescott Valley, AZ. He had been en route from Van Nuys, CA to Las Vegas, NM when his aircraft apparently had a pressurization problem at about 13,000 feet. The following synopsis is taken from the NTSB report on the accident.

NTSB Identification: LAX00FA213
Date:1 June 2000
Location: Prescott Valley, AZ
Aircraft: Cessna 414A, registration: N414PS

On June 1, 2000, about 1005 hours mountain standard time, the aircraft experienced a suspected pressurization malfunction during cruise flight. The pilot made a precautionary landing on a road in a housing development under construction near Prescott Valley, Arizona. During rollout, the aircraft collided with obstructions and sustained substantial damage; however, the pilot (Swayze) and his two dogs were not injured.

The pilot reported that he was in cruise flight at 13,000 feet msl when he heard a loud sound. His ears "popped" and his dogs began barking. Concerned that he had lost pressurization, he looked for a suitable landing site. After seeing what he believed was an airport below him, he circled the field to the left and initiated an approach from the west. On short final, he noticed a truck parked on the left side of what he believed was a runway near the approach end and lengthened his approach, clearing the vehicle by about four or five feet.

Just prior to touchdown, the right wing of the aircraft struck a streetlight, losing about a 4-foot outboard section of the right wing. The aircraft then touched down, bounced, and touched down again, crossing an intersection, striking a stop sign and another streetlight. The aircraft then began veering right off the paved portion of the roadway, striking an electrical utility box with outboard section of the extended left flap. The aircraft came to a stop, facing south, about 200 yards from the impact point.

The Safety Board investigator who examined the aircraft found that a clamp on a hose connecting the plenum chamber to the upper plenum had separated. The representatives from Honeywell and Cessna opined that the absence of the clamp could have prevented the pressurization system from maintaining the desired cabin pressure.

The pilot reported to investigators that he smoked about three packs of cigarettes per day. The aircraft cabin had a strong tobacco odor. The door seal, outflow valve, and safety valve exhibited dark brown tar-like deposits.

The NTSB concluded that the pilot's physical impairment due to the cumulative effects of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust by-products, carbon monoxide from heavy tobacco use, and the loss of an undetermined amount of cabin pressurization. A factor in the loss of pressurization was a fractured clamp.

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Plane Crash Involving Actor Patrick Swayze -- Revised: 16 November 2007