Report: Air Force pilot saw crop duster just before collision

Thursday, January 27th 2005, 5:06 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Air Force pilot says he saw a yellow plane just before his training jet collided with a crop duster last Tuesday and crashed in a field in southwestern Oklahoma.

Crop duster pilot Dierk Nash of Wheatley, Arkansas, was killed in the crash near the Tillman County town of Hollister.

A preliminary report on the crash was released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board. The report does not offer a possible cause of the collision.

Captain Christopher Otis and student pilot Second Lieutenant Roderick James told NTSB investigators they were flying at five-thousand feet as they returned to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, after a training flight.

Otis says he took control of the jet from Otis and scanned the student's altimeter on the left side of the instrument panel. He says when he turned his head back to the right he saw the yellow plane from the corner of his eye. James says he looked left, then looked to the right and also saw the crop duster.

Otis and James say they then felt a spinning and rolling sensation and they ejected from their plane, parachuting to safety.