Thursday, December 30, 2021

Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III, N8AU: Fatal accident occurred December 30, 2021 near Livingston Municipal Airport (00R), Polk County, 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.

206B LLC

Location: Livingston, Texas
Accident Number: CEN22FA086
Date and Time: December 30, 2021, 11:41 Local 
Registration: N8AU
Aircraft: Bell 206B 
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 30, 2021, about 1141 central standard time, a Bell 206B, N8AU, was substantially damaged during an accident near Livingston, Texas. The pilot was seriously injured, one passenger was fatally injured, and two passengers received minor injuries. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight.

Preliminary track data for the flight showed that the helicopter departed the Livingston Municipal Airport (00R) and headed east-northeast for about 25 nm before reversing course to a west-southwest direction. The helicopter then turned further south before the end of the data at 1138. The final recorded location was 1.8 nm northeast of the accident site.

According to the surviving passengers, the flight was a sightseeing flight that the deceased front seat passenger had won at a local charity auction. On the day of the accident, the passengers met the pilot at 00R, and the helicopter departed about 1107. The original intent was to fly over the deceased passenger’s childhood home near Woodville, Texas. While on-course toward Woodville, it became evident that the flight could not be continued due to low clouds and the helicopter was then maneuvered to the passenger’s current residence near Livingston. The rear seat passengers stated that the helicopter flew down the road where the residence was located and then around the house making a level right turn at low speed. The helicopter then flew over a pond on the property and then toward the house. As the helicopter approached the house it was facing a south direction and came to a hover above the trees where the accident occurred. The passengers stated that the helicopter was either motionless in the hover or slightly drifting.

Once in the hover, the helicopter began to rotate to the right, which one passenger initially thought was the pilot intentionally maneuvering the helicopter. The helicopter continued to rotate, and the passenger realized the rotation was not intentional. The helicopter rotated about 2 full revolutions before striking a tree with the rotor blades and falling to the ground. It came to rest on its left side on top of a wood pile that had been created due to land clearing. One passenger noted that after attending to the pilot and front seat passenger that the helicopter’s engine was still running. He started moving any switch he could find to the “off”
position until the helicopter’s engine stopped.

Due to the positioning of the helicopter at the accident site a comprehensive examination was not possible. A subsequent post-recovery examination is planned.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N8AU
Model/Series: 206B
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCXO, 245 ft msl 
Observation Time: 11:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 31 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C /20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 7 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Livingston, TX (00R)
Destination: Livingston, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Minor 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 30.648176,-94.91511 

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

POLK COUNTY — We're learning new details tonight about a fatal helicopter crash in Polk County, including the tragic circumstances that a father died and his sons were on board and injured, along with the pilot, according to

The Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the crash at about 11:45 a.m. Thursday on Galloway Lane, a few miles south of Livingston off TX 146. is reporting that investigators believe the Bell 206B-3 JetRanger III may have had a mechanical failure, causing it to crash. The chopper struck a tree as it was coming down.

George Daniel King, 54, of Livingston, died at the scene. His two sons, Braydon, 26, and Brockton, 23, were taken to a hospital. Their injuries aren't life threatening. The pilot, John Randolph Martin, 73, of Montgomery County, was critically injured and flown from a nearby landing zone to a Houston hospital. says King and his sons were reportedly looking at some property when the helicopter crashed.

The Federal Aviation Administration will conduct the investigation.

POLK COUNTY, Texas – One person is dead after authorities with Texas Department of Public Safety said a helicopter crashed at a field in Polk County.

The crash involving a Bell 206 helicopter occurred deep in the woods at Galloway Lane and Highway 146, southeast of Livingston at around 11:45 a.m. Thursday morning.

One of the three passengers onboard, 54-year-old Daniel King of Livingston, died at the scene of the crash, Texas DPS troopers said.

Two other passengers, 26-year-old Braydon King and 23-year-old Brocton King, also from Livingston, were transported to CHI St. Luke’s Hospital in Livingston.

The pilot, identified as 73-year-old John Martin of Montgomery, was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center area, according to Texas DPS.

DPS troopers are investigating the scene.

The FAA has been notified of the crash, according to Texas DPS.

LIVINGSTON, Texas  – One person is dead and three more are injured after a helicopter crashed northwest of Houston on Thursday, Dec. 30 according to state and federal authorities.

A Bell 206B helicopter with four people on board crashed in a field in Livingston, Texas, about 70 miles northwest of Houston, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

It’s unclear what led to the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation and provide updates, according to the FAA statement.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the crash happened about 11:45 a.m.

Daniel King, 54, of Livingston, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to DPS.

Braydon King, 26, and Brocton King, 23, both of Livingston, were both taken to a Houston hospital, DPS said.

The pilot John Martin, 73, of Montgomery, also was taken to a Houston hospital, DPS said.  Their conditions were not immediately available.


  1. The three survivors can thank the fact this was not a Robinson helicopter.

  2. The survivors are on life support, ventilators.

    1. The pilot is in bad shape - critically injured.

    2. Randy, (Pilot John Martin), passed from his injuries Jan 12, 2022. Sad loss for us all

  3. NTSB Preliminary is out. This flight was the prize in a charity auction. Started rotating while hovering over trees. May have been a mechanical failure.
    Too bad that the pilot couldn't move to clear area which would have likely been just a hard landing. Pilot is 73 with ATP rating but FAA shows BasicMed for last 4 years so can't exercise the privileges. Sad and bad outcome for all.

  4. First, I want to extend my condolences to the King Family. One never expects something like to happen, especially for a family event that is supposed to be fun. I've many hours in the 206B and the R44 flying ENG. IMHO, the pilot didn't have a mechanical failure. Hovering with a full load of folks or fuel, it's easy to have LTE. I think the pilot ran out of left pedal at a low altitude and ran out of options. To the fellow who took the reckless jab at Robinsons: the R44/R66 has a much more effective tail rotor authority over the 206B. When I got into this situation with both airframes, the aircraft would tell you when you running out of pedal, long before it it happens.
    Speed recovery to all involved. R.I.P. Mr. King.
    Just my two cents worth...

  5. The pilot, Mr Martin passed today after many surgeries and critial care from many never regaining consciousness.