Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pilot unharmed in crop duster crash

Update: Here is the early story on the crash, along with a four-photo slideshow and a map showing the location of the crash. And, by the way, here is Jonathan Partridge's story and Elias Funez's photos from a crop duster crash involving the same company last year (incidentally, a much longer, better story for a much more dramatic crash).

A Valley Crop Dusters plane crashed into a wastewater treatment pond around 10:30 a.m. today. The pilot, who declined to comment or to give his name, escaped unharmed.

The plane lost power for an unknown reason almost immediately after taking off, according to Sgt. Robert Banks of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department. It crashed into the Westley Community Sewer Pond and overturned, forcing the pilot to swim a few feet to safety.

The Valley Crop Dusters office, at 8513 Kern St., is about half a mile northeast of the pond the plane crashed into. Sheriff's department spokeswoman Gina Leguria said when deputies arrived, the pilot had already returned to the company's office.

Banks said the pilot had to be "decontaminated" because he crashed into and waded out of sewer water. He said the Stanislaus County Department of Environmental Resources was being called to the scene because of the possibility of chemicals getting into the wastewater. An employee at Valley Crop Dusters, who declined to give his name, said the plane was carrying fertilizer.

That's the story for now. I'll post updates here if I'm able to track down more information.

1 comment:

Debi Henson said...

Very glad to hear the pilot was unharmed, except maybe his pride! I was listening and watching a similar plane this morning, flying west to east and back. It probably wasn't the same one, since the story says he crashed shortly after taking off, but it was yellow also.