On Thursday, August 25th, 1994 around 3:00 pm Eastern time, Jimmy Buffett crashed his Grumman G-44 Widgeon, N1471N, while attempting to takeoff in the waters off Nantucket, Massachusetts. The airplane nosed over, and Jimmy was able to swim to safety, sustaining only minor injuries.

Buffett credits his survival to Navy Survival Training he had to complete before being able to ride in an F-14 Tomcat from the deck of an aircraft carrier.

NTSB Narrative:

On August 25, 1994, at 1520 eastern daylight time, a Grumman G-44, N1471N, impacted the water during takeoff from Madaket Harbor, Nantucket, Massachusetts. The pilot received minor injuries. The amphibian airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that the takeoff began without incident. He stated, “Transition to the step was smooth…Once on the step there was no indication of engine trouble or control problems. Just prior to lifting off the water, out of the corner of my left eye, I spotted some contrary water what looked to be to me some kind of swell and decided to pull the power, but before I could do so, the plane veered extremely to the right. Attempts to level the plane with opposite aileron was not responsive.”

The pilot stated that he “…pulled the power back…” and “…was able to keep the plane from rolling completely over.” He stated the airplane’s left side of the nose impacted the water and the airplane nosed over.

Post accident examination of the airframe and engines did not reveal any anomalies.

At the time of the accident, Buffett had about 1,500 total hours, including 400 in multi-engine aircraft and 190 in the Widgeon.

Grumman G-44 Widgeon

Grumman G-44 Widgeon. Photo by Brad Kostelny/JetPhotos.net

View the full NTSB report of the accident

View the full NTSB report of the accident