Scottsbluff man helps pilot from crashed crop duster
Tim Jerger likes to watch and take pictures of crop dusters fly near his property this time of year. But on Tuesday, Jerger switched from a photographer to a first responder.
"I heard a thump hit the ground and I knew right away the plan had gone down," Jerger said.
Tim Jerger’s morning took an unexpected turn Tuesday. A crop duster hit power lines and crashed into a cornfield near his house along Highway 71 north of Scottsbluff. He jumped right into action.
"I called 911 immediately, hopped on my ATV and drove to the site," Jerger said
As he arrived at the scene, Jerger discovered the pilot of the plane struggling to get himself out of the cockpit of the downed aircraft.
"The cockpit was on the ground upside down, the plane was upside down," Jerger said. "He was sitting there, holding up the side window, so I held the side window up and he said, 'I really messed up.'"
After getting him out of the cockpit, Jerger said the pilot started walking back to the house under his own power. He was covered in pesticides and fuel. Jerger helped with that as well.
"We had water jugs, five gallon water jugs that I brought out," Jerger said. "He stripped and I washed him off."
Further complicating matters is that a cattle truck drove into power lines that were strewn across the road as a result of the crash, shattering its windshield.
"When the plane hit the power line, it pulled the tension and dropped the East-West line low enough that when the truck came through, of course it all happened at the same time, he caught that East-West line on the cab of his truck," Scotts Bluff County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Troy Brown said.
Power was knocked out for over 2,000. NPPD hopes to have power restored Tuesday night. Highway 71 reopened Tuesday afternoon after the power lines and wrecked cattle truck were removed from the scene.
The pilot suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries. No other people, or cattle were hurt. Brown says it’s not everyday everyone walks away from an event like this.
"He's one lucky son-of-a-gun let me tell you," Brown said. "There's very few of them you can walk away from, not like that crash site anyway."
The NTSB and FAA will investigate the cause of the crash.