January 1, 2006, Grand Ridge, Fla. / Robinson R44


At about 1900 Central time, the helicopter collided with trees and terrain. The helicopter was destroyed by impact and a post-crash fire; the Commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated about five minutes earlier from the parking lot of a nearby hotel. Instrument conditions prevailed. Witnesses reported to the Jackson County Sheriffs Office that the helicopter landed in a parking lot of a hotel and the occupants inquired at the hotel about the price of a room. After being told about the price the occupants walked to a restaurant located at a truck stop across the street from the hotel. The occupants ate at the restaurant, departed there and went to the helicopter. The helicopter was observed departing from the hotel parking lot, flew over a building near the truck stop, then proceeded southbound. Preliminary examination of the accident site revealed the helicopter collided with trees approximately 40 feet above ground level while on a magnetic heading of approximately 020 degrees. The accident site was located south of I-10.


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