Ag News -
State Ag News
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 19:20
By Kathy Hanks and Kristen Roderick
The Hutchinson News
LAKIN - The condition of a pilot in a plane crash Monday morning has improved.
David Burr, 58, of Montrose, Colo., was listed in fair condition at Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita Tuesday afternoon.
Burr was flying a 1999 fixed-wing single-engine plane northwest when the right wing clipped a support line to a 305-foot cell tower about 9:30 a.m. east of Lakin. The airplane cartwheeled to the ground and landed nose first, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.
It flipped one time and landed in a field facing southeast.
Burr was taken to Kearny County hospital before being flown to St. Francis. The plane was registered to Tri Rotor Spray and Chemical in Ulysses.
An employee at the company said Burr has been a full-time pilot at Tri Rotor Spray and Chemical for more than a year.
The Kansas Department of Transportation closed U.S. 50 in Kearny County, about 3 ½ miles east of the junction of U.S. 50 and K-25, after the small plane hit the tower's guy wires, causing damage to the tower, which is close to the roadway.
The highway was closed as a safety precaution while the tower's damage is assessed. Traffic was being detoured on county roads east of Lakin.
Patricia Riley, of Lakin, said she was driving east to Garden City at 9:30 a.m. when she came upon a small yellow aircraft, typical of a crop-dusting plane, crumpled in a field on the north side of the road.
"There were a lot of onlookers," Riley said. "Two semitrucks had stopped, and a couple of cars."
A man was lying on his back in the field and several people were by his side.
As Riley continued on to Garden City, she passed six emergency vehicles racing to the scene, including fire trucks, an ambulance and sheriff's vehicles.
"It was terrible," Riley said. "The plane looked like aluminum foil."