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Plane crash kills one

7/18/2014

By MIKE CORN

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

An Oakley man was killed when the bright yellow spray plane he was piloting crashed in a field northwest of Hays sometime Friday morning.

The Kansas Highway Patrol, which is investigating the crash, identified the victim as 23-year-old Garrett Moore. He was flying an Air Tractor AT-401B, owned by Frontier Ag in Oakley.

The crash was in the 2300 block of 170th Avenue.

Moore’s body remained in the cockpit of the plane, which had extensive damage, pending completion of the investigation. The plane was badly damaged, recognizable only because of its color and the tail section sticking up.

Although it couldn’t be immediately confirmed, Moore reportedly was flying from Pleasanton to Oakley and had been reported to authorities as overdue this morning.

The wreckage, nearly a half-mile west of 170th Avenue and just south of St. John-St. Andrew Road, was spotted by an Ellis County farmer who pulled into an adjacent pasture to check on his cows.

Although he didn’t want to be identified, the farmer said he drove into the field and spotted the wreckage right away.

“When I opened the gate, I saw something yellow in that field,” the farmer said.

He drove closer to the crash scene and saw it was a plane, so he called authorities.

“I called in, and they wanted me to go to the top of the hill and wait for them,” he said of dispatchers asking him to wait to pinpoint the scene for arriving deputies.

The farmer returned to his pasture to shut the gate, which he left open in his haste to call 911.

Although details of the crash aren’t yet known, the incident apparently took place several hours before it was discovered.

That’s because the motor on the plane already had cooled.

“I heard them talking, the farmer said of details he learned from authorities.

KHP Trooper Tod Hileman said the crash was reported at 10:03 a.m. Friday.

“When the plane crashed, I don’t know that,” he said.

Hileman said KHP troopers routinely conduct the investigation into small plane crashes, but the FAA ultimately makes the determination concerning the cause of the accident.

He said they already were on the scene early Friday afternoon.