Monday, June 14, 2021

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N3258W: Fatal accident occurred June 14, 2021 near Madisonville Municipal Airport (51R), Texas

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Location: Madisonville, TX 
Accident Number: CEN21FA263
Date & Time: June 13, 2021, 23:55 Local 
Registration: N3258W
Aircraft: Piper PA-32-260
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On June 13, 2021, at 2355 central daylight time, a Piper PA-32-260 airplane, N3258W, was involved in an accident near Madisonville, Texas. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot was fatally injured, and five passengers received serious injuries. The airplane was operated by the pilot under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

The airplane impacted trees that were about 50 ft. in height and about 680 ft. south of the approach end of runway 36 at Madisonville Municipal Airport (51R), Madisonville, Texas. The airplane was located about 550 ft. south of the approach end of runway.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the propeller displayed S-shaped bending consistent with engine power. The trees along the wreckage path exhibited slash marks consistent with propeller strikes. The wing flaps were fully extended. Flight control continuity was confirmed. There were no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal airplane operation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3258W
Model/Series: PA-32-260 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: UTS,363 ft msl 
Observation Time: 23:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /27°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Altimeter Setting: 29.95 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Port Isabel, TX (PIL) 
Destination: Madisonville, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 5 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 6 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  30.908162,-95.952974 (est)
Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Apolo Diaz
May 10, 1953 - June 14, 2021

MADISONVILLE, Texas (KTRK) -- A pilot was killed in a plane crash and five others were injured Monday morning in Madisonville, Texas, about an hour and half north of Houston.

Officials with the Texas DPS Bryan/College Station office said that the crash happened at about 1 a.m. as the small plane attempted to land at the Madisonville Municipal Airport.

Helicopter reporter Tammy Rose was inside SkyEye over the crash site and noted that the small plane was about 300 yards from the airport's runway.

Investigators later told ABC13 they believe the plane may have been flying too low and clipped some trees. It doesn't appear there was a call for help before the crash happened.

All six people on board the plane were adults.

Authorities said that after the crash, the pilot and passengers, some of whom were still conscious, were found around the plane.

Of the injured, one person was taken to a hospital in Houston, three people were taken to College Station, and the fifth person was taken to Temple for treatment.

The Madisonville Municipal Airport is unmanned, meaning all aircraft have to radio in to be cleared to land.

At night, lights are supposed to turn on to help guide pilots to the runway.

It's unclear whether the lights were on or off at the time of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board is taking over the investigation. Investigators were due to arrive at the crash site Monday afternoon.

The aircraft, which authorities said was not local, ripped in half. It is registered to someone out of Missouri.

As of late Monday afternoon, authorities identified the pilot who died as 68-year-old Apolo Diaz of Kansas City.

The other people involved in the crash will be identified through the NTSB.

MADISONVILLE, Texas (KBTX) - Federal investigators have released the name of the person killed in an early morning plane crash in Madisonville.

Apolo Diaz, 68, from Kansas City, Missouri, was the pilot of the single-engine plane that crashed just short of the runway at the Madisonville Municipal Airport around 1:00 a.m. He was killed in the crash.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to arrive at the scene of a fatal plane crash in Madisonville sometime Monday afternoon, according to a tweet from the federal agency.

Madisonville police said the five passengers in the plane were injured and flown to nearby hospitals via medical helicopter. They reported one person was trapped inside the aircraft, but first responders were able to free them around 5:30 a.m. At last check, those injured were in critical condition.

According to DPS, three passengers were taken to Bryan/College Station hospitals, one was taken to a hospital in Temple and the fifth was taken to a hospital in Houston. DPS says the names of the passengers will not be released.

Madisonville police said they got a call around midnight Monday that a single-engine plane crashed when it landed short of the runway.

MADISONVILLE, Texas— On June 14, Sgt. Ruiz of Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed the identity of the deceased pilot to be Apolo Diaz, a 68-year-old male from Kansas City, Missouri.

Sgt. Ruiz also confirmed that three passengers are currently receiving treatment in Bryan/College Station area hospitals, while one is currently being treated in Temple and another in Houston.

Original Story:

The FAA and NTSB are investigating, after a deadly overnight plane crash in Madisonville.

According to Madisonville's Chief of Police, dispatch received a call about the crash around 12 a.m. Monday.

Officers arrived at the Madisonville Regional Airport to find a single small-engine plane had crashed about 200 feet from the landing strip.

Police say say six people were on board the plane. The victim who died has been identified as the pilot.


  1. Three medevac helicopters with PHI Air Medical.

  2. Came through trees onto south boundary of Madisonville Municipal (51R) during RW36 approach just before midnight. Moon had set at 11:21 PM, wind calm, clear, 10 mile vis reported at Huntsville.

    Mapped wreck location:

  3. Assuming the same person was at the controls, the pilot of this aircraft had roughly a twelve hour duty day (most of that time in the air). I don't know about you other pilots out there but I'm wiped out after 4-5 hrs of flying. I'm not implying that his judgement was compromised but there had to be some fatigue.

  4. Nearly 12 hr duty day! Most of it in the air.

  5. Six people in a piston single at 1AM.

  6. Seems like that last leg started near the border with Mexico...

    1. A hospital worker said the 5 survivors were undocumented

    2. The Port Isabel Immigration Court is located in the Port Isabel Detention Center which is co-located at the departure airport for the accident leg; Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport (KPIL).

  7. Rumor has it that the 5 passengers are illegal aliens

  8. Pilot identified by media, is APOLINAR ESTRADA DIAZ in airmen registry.

  9. Nothing like some good old fashioned human trafficking

  10. Nothing good happens at 1AM near the border. Nothing.

    1. I was a Border Patrol Agent for 20 years and that's for damn sure. Around 3 AM it gets worse.

  11. Updated story says all six occupants of the aircraft are adults.

    Night approach in overloaded aircraft into a rural airport, mo PAPI for glide path, no moonlight to see 50 foot high trees, 3200' of asphalt, attempting at midnight after a long duty day. No way to quickly recover any altitude on throttle up with six adults on board when you are low coming into the perimeter and trees suddenly appear.

  12. There is more to this story than what has been reported.

    1. Yep 51r is 15 miles from me. Andy Diaz was hauling 5 el salvadorians. His pick up man was arrested at the airport. Ol boy that was arrest said he has picked up people post midnight here a few times from the same pilot.

    2. Looking back thru 2021 and all of 2020 using adsbexchange, here are some more N3258W late night landing flights originating from Port Isabel. Some include landings at 51R:

  13. NTSB Press Conference video at link below.

  14. Amazing anyone survived that

    1. Agreed. Is incredible this is one fatality and not six.

  15. I commend the choice - the Cherokee Six is an ideal aircraft for people smuggling

  16. resting on right side, location of PIC, appears a low level stall .... "needed, which calls for planning as the electric trim is very slow.

    Slow flight requires only that the pilot show a willingness to apply lots of right rudder, otherwise the airplane does not waffle around at all. Stalls are typical Cherokee; there is a noticeable buffet, the stall warning clatters, and then the nose bobs up and down a bit as the descent rate goes out of sight. Pulling hard will result in a straight-ahead break. Lowering the nose slightly has the airplane flying again, although prompt application of full power is essential to break the resulting rapid descent. Even then, it takes some time to accelerate away from the high drag end of the envelope and establish a climb. Stalling a heavy Six at low altitude, in spite of the very obvious warnings, may be the last thing a pilot does."

  17. I was tied up and placed in front of a Salvadoran firing squad in 1971 (its in my book). Anyone who dies bringing this trash into my country got what he deserved.

    1. Wow. What happened to you in 1971?

    2. hmmm sounds like a fish story. Why wouldn't they have just shot you? Did Nixon call his buddy La Presidente and give you a last minute reprieve?

  18. Some friends beat the shit out of the little ass-wipes before they pulled the triggers. Then it became a fair fight. This was some ten miles from La Libertad, where four nuns were later murdered. Believe what you want.

  19. He deserved what he got and he's not a kindly old grandpa he is a criminal.

  20. Here's an update......
    Autopsy as posted, shows antidepressants in both Blood and Urinalysis scans. Therefore the pilot was under the influence of the Drug ZOLOFT.
    And RUMOR in the City Hall of Madisonville is Diaz's family is suing the City for not trimming the trees on the South side of Grant road adjacent to the south boundary of the airport. Of which Diaz fly into .