A close call for a crop duster pilot - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A close call for a crop duster pilot

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A close call for the pilot of a crop duster in Grady County Saturday morning, Gary Prince was piloting that duster when it hit two power lines.

Luckily, he was able to land it safely, but the accident left thousands across the county without power.

Residents in the majority of Grady County and parts of Thomas and Decatur County lost power for a few hours.

"Heard something hit, looked up and the poles were shaking," said Marty McGuire.

"Just a loud crash and popping," said Robert Eubanks.

A crop duster spraying the cotton fields below for some reason hit the top of the high voltage power lines nearby.

"We got a call a crop duster was spraying the field and one of his wings clipped several light poles in the area we had power out all over the city," said Sgt. Kelvin Nixon, Grady County Sheriff's Office.

Marty McGuire was about to walk down to the area just before he and heard the collisions.

"Then I saw the airplane do a turn to the right and he flew to the airport which he appeared to be ok, then I called 911," said McGuire.

"Power lines were across the roadway and you could still hear the power running through them," said Nixon.

Gary Prince was piloting the plane he safely landed at the Cairo Airport.

"I understood he drug about 500 feet of the line to the airport," said

The power lines were across the street from where Robert Eubanks lives.

He and his family were on the porch when the plane took out the power lines.

"All of a sudden the lines came down and sparks going everywhere, yes sir I was sitting back here in the chair," said Eubanks.

"Got a lot of power going to these power lines so the next think I thought about was the safety of the neighbors, so I started blocking off traffic until the sheriff's office arrived," said McGuire.

Power was diverted and electricity was restored to Cairo and surrounding areas.

Those who live here see and hear the planes all the time.

"They fly every week around here for two to three weeks probably," said Eubanks.

"It could have all been different we would have had a tragedy," said McGuire.

Today tragedy was averted and all that was lost was a few hours of power.

The majority of Grady EMC customers are within three counties Grady, Decatur, and Thomas.

Power to all of their customers is up and running.

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