Anonymous Tip on Drug Use in Fatal Civil Air Patrol Crash of 2005

Zoloft Civil Air PatrolCivil Air Patrol pilot crashes under influence of Zoloft

by Harold Chasen | AuxBeacon News Reader

[Editor’s Note: AuxBeacon did not have a record of this 10 January 2005 Civil Air Patrol crash and the findings of the NTSB toxicology report until it was provided in mid-December 2018. Thank you for the contribution.]

On March 28th, 2006 the National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause(s) of the 10 January 2005 fatal crash of CAP1630, a Cessna Skylane with registration N9474E, at Monroe Regional Airport Louisiana to be:

The failure of the pilot manipulating the controls to maintain aircraft control during a night missed approach in instrument meteorological conditions. Factors include a dark night and low ceilings.

Deeper into the NTSB’s final report, the toxicology for the Civil Air Patrol pilot assumed to be flying in the left seat was positive for Sertraline and Desmethylsertraline in both the liver and Kidneys. According to FAA’s Southwest Regional Flight Surgeon, Sertraline (Zoloft) is an antidepressant medication, and Desmethylsertraline represents a metabolite of Sertraline. The flight surgeon further stated that use of this medication would have precluded medical certification of this pilot had it been reported to a medical examiner. He also said that any pilot who was already certified would have been warned not to fly while taking this medication, had an examiner become aware that the pilot was doing so.

As a follow-up on the toxicology, the Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) contacted the sister of this pilot, who stated that this individual had been taking about 50 mg of Zoloft per day for about the previous three months. According to her, her brother was involved in a child custody dispute that had caused him significant anxiety, and he had started taking this medication in order to help deal with that situation. She further stated that she was not sure where he had acquired the medication, but that she was unaware of any prescription being written by a
doctor.

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