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Local News

Deceased crop duster pilot ID'ed

Published:   |   Updated: December 10, 2013 at 07:42 AM

SEBRING - A pilot who rented a T-hangar at Sebring Regional Airport died Friday evening when his helicopter crashed in a field north of the airport, authorities said Monday.

Jon Whitaker, 52, of Temple, Ga., died in the crash north of Sebring Regional Airport near 5600 Kenilworth Drive, said Nell Hays, public information officer for the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, in a press release.

Mike Willingham, executive director of the airport, said Whitaker rented the hangar and was apparently returning from a crop dusting operation when the crash occurred. He said he had talked to investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board.

Although Whitaker's name was on the airport lease, the helicopter was owned by Rotor Tech, also of Georgia, Hays said.

Meanwhile, spokesmen for both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said investigations by their agencies are continuing.

The NTSB is expected to release a preliminary report on the crash within 10 days.

The accident occurred about 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 6 in a field north of the airport.


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