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Three Dead in Central Georgia Robinson R66 Helicopter Crash

On the night of September 16, 2021, a Robinson R66 helicopter crashed near Macon, Georgia, killing three people on board. There were no survivors.

Authorities say the five-seater R66 chopper went down at approximately 8:45 p.m. local time in a remote forest area in the Oconee National Forest near the Ocmulgee River. At the time of the aviation accident, heavy rain was falling in the region.

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, authorities were uncertain where the R66 was heading or whether it had made any stops before crashing roughly 20 miles north of Macon. Officials did say, however, that the helicopter departed from Thomasville, Georgia near the Florida border at around 6:40 p.m. local time.

Georgia Helicopter Crash Victims Identified 

On September 21, officials released the identities of the Georgia helicopter crash victims. According to CBS 46, the crash killed 40-year-old Carson McElheney, a Buckhead landscape architect and father of two. Alex Smith, a former mentor of Mr. McElheney’s told the media that his one-time protégé had already made an indelible mark on the industry at a young age. "Carson was a super talented young man, and he reminded me a bit of myself in that he had a strong work ethic and he had a desire to be the best," Smith said.

The other victims were identified as 42-year-old Alister Pereira, and 46-year-old Charles Ogilvie, both pilots from the Atlanta area.

Pereira worked as a helicopter flight instructor, and was well known in the Virgin Islands’ aviation community. He was originally from Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.

Ogilvie was originally from San Francisco. His two passions in life were aviation and the burgeoning economy in the Asia Pacific Region. After a decade of living in Asia, he returned to the U.S. and resided in Atlanta where he worked as a resident entrepreneur at Wunderman Thompson. He is survived by his wife and two children.

Investigation into the Cause of the Central Georgia Helicopter Crash 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of this tragic crash in Georgia. NTSB general aviation accident investigations typically take at least 12-36 months to complete. Before the final report is released, however, the agency will usually issue a preliminary report detailing its early findings within a few weeks. NTSB usually releases preliminary findings within weeks of the incident.

Robinson Helicopter Crash Stats 

Robinson Helicopter Company based in Torrance, California has a lengthy history of aviation accidents. According to government data, Robinson helicopters, including the R22, R44, and R66 models, have been involved in 1,608 aviation accidents or incidents worldwide.*

A total of 716 people died in these accidents. Many more sustained injuries.

Robinson R22 Helicopter Accidents and Incidents*

183 Fatal

270 Deaths

1006 Total

Robinson R44 Helicopter Accidents and Incidents*

200 Fatal

402 Deaths

548 Total

Robinson R66 Helicopter Accidents and Incidents*

18 Fatal

37 Deaths

38 Total

Helicopter Accident Attorneys with Track Record Against Robinson 

The helicopter accident attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have handled more than two dozen claims against Robinson Helicopter Company. The firm has years of experience investigating the circumstances behind these accidents and pursuing full and fair compensation for the victims and their families.

Our legal team works side by side with some of the top helicopter experts in the world to uncover the answers that crash victims deserve. We leave no stone unturned in determining which party was responsible for the accident, and fight to improve safety standards that help deter future incidents from happening.

Vice president and senior shareholder Ronald L. M. Goldman has litigated numerous cases against Robinson. Earlier this year, he sat for an interview with the NZ Herald to discuss the helicopter manufacturer’s safety record after a Robinson R44 crashed in Canterbury, New Zealand.

Goldman said Robinson helicopters have been involved in an “inordinate number of accidents”:

"In our view, there is just an inordinate number of accidents involving Robinson helicopters…They've had a larger number of accidents than anybody else. And we need to understand why this is happening."

If you would like more information on your rights following a helicopter crash, our experienced legal team is here for you. At Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, we offer free and confidential case evaluations. We are available to answer any questions you may have about the legal process and filing a claim.

Call us today at (855) 948-5098 or fill out our contact form.

* Data current as of September 2021. In October of 2020, NTSB changed its data search tool to the Case Analysis and Reporting Online (known as the CAROL query system). The CAROL system does not include accidents prior to 2008. This is problematic for aviation accident statistics because, in the case of Robinson Helicopters, the first model was introduced in 1979, which means the CAROL system does not include decades of Robinson crash history. Baum Hedlund tabulated the data above using the total number of Robinson helicopter from the previous NTSB database and added the new crashes since 2008 using the new CAROL query system.

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