Pilot injured in crop duster crash

4/10/2012

Updated with pilot name, condition.

Updated with pilot name, condition.

By JOSEPH JACKMOVICH

jjackmovich@gctelegram.com

KEARNY COUNTY — The pilot of a crop duster was listed in critical condition hours after his plane crashed Monday morning near U.S. Highway 50, just east of Lakin.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, the crash was reported at about 9:35 a.m. on U.S. 50 near mile marker 47, about three miles east of Lakin. The pilot, 58-year-old David M. Burr of Montrose, Colo., suffered a broken arm, leg and had possible internal injuries. He was transported to Kearny County Hospital and later airlifted to Via Christi, Wichita. He was listed in critical condition as of Monday night, according to Via Christi representatives.

The right wing of the small yellow plane struck a stabilizing wire, also known as a guy-wire, on a 305-foot tall cell tower before coming to rest in a small field near the highway. KHP Captain Scott Harrington said that initial reports stated the plane stalled and dropped into the wire.

Harrington said the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the accident but had not responded as of late Monday afternoon. Officials from the Kearny County Sheriff's Office declined to comment, saying the KHP was in charge of the investigation.

Members of the Garden City Fire Department responded in protective suits to assist with hazardous material cleanup. GCFD Chief Allen Shelton said the hazardous material included the various pesticides and chemicals loaded on the plane.

In response to the tower damage, at 1:20 p.m. the Kansas Department of Transportation closed U.S. 50 in Kearny County, about three and a half miles east of the U.S. 50/K-25 junction. The closing was a safety precaution while damage to the tower was assessed.

By 4:25 p.m., KDOT had removed the road from its closed road list.

Officials from the Garden City Fire Department, Kearny County EMS, Kansas Department of Transportation, Kearny County Sheriff's Office and the Kansas Highway Patrol were present on the scene.

Burr was wearing a safety restraint, according to the KHP.

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