A man died when the crop duster he was flying struck a radio tower, sending his aircraft into a field just north of Enid. State and federal agencies are investigating the crash, which is eerily similar to another crop dusting accident that occurred in the area just last month.
Rodney Sherry, 52, was working for Deterding Aerial Spray based in Pond Creek, Oklahoma. The plane he was flying was owned by Jim Deterding. In late May, Deterding’s brother Andrew Deterding was killed when the crop duster he was piloting for another company struck a radio tower.
The radio tower that Sherry struck is owned by American Tower and was not a new installation. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Darrin Lancaster said that “from my understanding, there was a flashing light at the very top” of the tower. The tower has been taken down.
“It’s just an inherently dangerous job,” Blue Meyers, a Corporate Flight Department Pilot said about crop dusting. These special aircraft have to fly about 12 to 15 feet above the ground to minimize the amount of chemical drift. This puts them at greater risk of wind changes and radio towers that don’t always show up on charts.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the cause of Sherry’s accident. The Department of Agriculture has stepped in to ensure there is no lasting contamination from the release of chemicals that were aboard the plane.
Source: News on 6