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Crop duster crash kills pilot in Siskiyou County

, Posted: Fri, August 1 2014 at 12:23 PM, Updated: Fri, August 1 2014 at 4:47 PM

Siskiyou County, Calif. -- A cropdusting pilot is dead after his plane crashed this morning in Siskiyou County west of Tulelake.

Officer Tim Wood of the California Highway Patrol says 58 year old pilot William Whitlatch was just finishing up his crop dusting runs in north-eastern Siskiyou county Friday morning after 9 when his plane went down...

"At this point it appears that he struck some power lines which caused the collision."

The plane tumbled across the field, crashed, and caught fire.

"It sounds as if some of the first responders attempted to put out the flames."  Noted Officer Wood. "But unfortunately, the pilot died as the result of the collision."

Police say the plane was owned and operated by Macy's Flying Service, based in Tulelake.

First responders were able to remove Whitlatch from the wreckage, but efforts to remove the plane were hampered by downed power lines, and freshly-sprayed pesticides.

"We just don't want to enter the scene quite yet."  Explained Officer Wood.  "Until we're sure that it's not going to cause harm to any of the other responders."

The crash happened in a privately owned field near Hill Road and East West Road. 

Power was knocked out briefly to a few homes.

The Federal Aviation Administration has been called in, and will assist the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.

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