Naval Plane Collides With Crop Duster In Southeast Washington
DIAMOND, Wash. (AP) _ A Navy jet on a low-level training run collided with a single-engine crop duster, strewing the wreckage of both planes for miles over wheat fields.
Two crew members aboard the Navy A-6E bomber ejected safely, but the pilot of the Grumman Ag-Cat was critically injured in Wednesday’s crash about 40 miles south of Spokane.
The collision was ″like a brick and a butterfly,″ said farmer Bud Hooper.
When the jet hit the ground, he said, ″the fire was just boiling out of that thing. The hole must be 20 to 30 feet deep.″
The collision occurred along a route where bombers routinely make low-level runs after dropping dummy bombs at a range near Boardman, Ore., said Howard Thomas, a spokesman at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station near Seattle where the jet was based.
He did not know if the A-6E had made a practice bomb drop.
The pilot of the crop duster, Keith Graham, 40, of Homedale, Idaho, was in critical condition early today at Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane, a nursing supervisor said.
The A-6E’s pilot, Lt. Daniel E. Dugan, 31, of Sacramento, Calif., was treated for a broken arm and released. The bombardier-navigator, Cmdr. James Bill Jacobs, 44, of Pembroke, N.C., was in satisfactory condition.
The Navy and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, Thomas said.