Cropduster crash kills pilot

Cropduster crash kills pilot

29 September 2008

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Australia — Transport safety authorities will investigate a light plane crash which killed a man while cropdusting in the Darling Downs this afteroon.

The single engine Piper was spraying for mice at Upper Pilton, about 50km south of Toowoomba, when it crashed and caught on fire around 2.30pm. It is believed the male pilot died on impact.

A spokeswoman for Emergency Management Queensland said a grass fire was started as a result of the crash. Three fire crews are currently at the scene working to put out the fires, but dry, hot and windy conditions are hampering their efforts.

The plane is registered to a cropdusting business in Goondiwindi – AAA Sprays Pty Ltd – about three hours west of Upper Pilton, and is operated by Precision Aerial Services Pty Ltd, of Mount Lofty. Neither business could be contacted this afternoon.

The aircraft was first registered in 1986.

A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman this afternoon confirmed the Australian Transport Safety Bureau would investigate the crash.

Police are also at the scene and will investigate the circumstances behind it, a spokeswoman said.

Upper Pilton resident Beverley Gore said she saw a yellow aeroplane, possibly the crop duster, flying over the area about 2pm, before two helicopters also took to the air.

“But it would be a terrible day to be up in the air,” Ms Gore

“We’ve had very, very strong winds.”

Peta Kuhn, of the Clifton Service Centre, near the town’s fire station, said: “I heard the fire brigade go out about 2.30pm and they haven’t come back yet,” she said.

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