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  • Writer's picturePosted by: EPSD Staff

2 dead, 1 injured after crop duster accidents in Texas & Missouri

In a tragic series of events on Friday, two separate crop-dusting accidents resulted in the deaths of two pilots and left another with moderate injuries.

The first incident occurred in Texas, where two crop dusters collided mid-air while spraying a cotton field, leading to one fatality and injuring the other pilot.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, one person was pronounced dead after the crop-duster airplanes collided east of Morton. Another individual was taken to University Medical Center in Lubbock with serious injuries.

The initial call occurred at 8:38 a.m. near Country Road 225 and Highway 114. “Two Air Tractors were spraying a cotton field and collided in flight,” the Cochran County Sheriff’s Office stated in a press release.

The Cochran County Sheriff’s Office responded to the crash, which occurred approximately 4 miles west of Whiteface. Morton FD, Whiteface FD, Texas DPS, and Cochran County EMS were on the scene, along with the FAA and NTSB, who will continue investigating the crash.

No further information will be released until the NTSB completes its investigation.

Photo: Jon Dinsmore

In a separate, fatal incident on Friday, a crop duster crashed in Butler County, Missouri, killing another pilot. 

County coroner Jim Akers confirmed the victim was 28-year-old Ryan McCallister, who was delivering fertilizer in his Air Tractor 602 to a nearby field. 

Akers told reporters at the Daily American Republic that the 3,000 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer on board caused a fire after the crash, which destroyed the aircraft’s tail.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol are currently investigating the incident. Sheriff Mark Dobbs mentioned that the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Aviation Administration will also send investigators to the crash site.

Sheriff Dobbs speculated that the crash might have resulted from a mechanical failure, noting that McCallister was off course and flying low near a treeline.

Although the FAA and NTSB will make the final determination, Dobbs remarked that McCallister’s extensive flying experience likely excludes pilot error as the cause.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” Akers also told reporters about Dobbs, who was well-known and respected within the community. “My condolences to the family. This is a sad day for all of us.”

Caring for crops and operating crop dusters involve significant risks. Pilots must navigate low altitudes and potential mechanical issues.

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