A crop dusting plane crashed in a privately owned field near Hill Road and East West Road in north-eastern Siskiyou County, west of Tulelake in California, after 9 a.m. on August 1.
Officer Tim Wood of the California Highway Patrol confirmed that the pilot of the plane, William Whitlatch of Klamath Falls, 58, died in the crash. He also said that, “At this point it appears that he struck some power lines which caused the collision.”
The plane, having pesticides on board, caught fire after the crash. “It sounds as if some of the first responders attempted to put out the flames…But unfortunately, the pilot died as the result of the collision,” Said Officer Wood.
According to police the plane was registered to Tulelake based Macy’s Flying Service.
First responders removed the body of Whitlatch from the wreckage, but hesitated to remove the plane due to damaged power lines and freshly-sprayed pesticides in the field. According to Officer Wood, “We just don’t want to enter the scene quite yet…Until we’re sure that it’s not going to cause harm to any of the other responders.”
The Federal Aviation Administration will assist the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.