Heartland crop duster stresses safety in necessary, but dangerou - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Heartland crop duster stresses safety in necessary, but dangerous field

There have been two fatal crop dusting accidents in The Heartland this summer alone. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) There have been two fatal crop dusting accidents in The Heartland this summer alone. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
Dow Croom, a local pilot, knows what can happen each time he takes to the skies. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) Dow Croom, a local pilot, knows what can happen each time he takes to the skies. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
“And if you hit a high line it can be very very serious if not deadly," Croom said. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS) “And if you hit a high line it can be very very serious if not deadly," Croom said. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt/KFVS)
This year there are around forty accidents so far – with 10 pilots who lost their lives. (Source: Dow Croom) This year there are around forty accidents so far – with 10 pilots who lost their lives. (Source: Dow Croom)
CAMPBELL, MO (KFVS) -

It’s a necessary, and dangerous job, and recently, it’s proven deadly.

There have been two fatal crop dusting accidents in the Heartland this summer alone.

Dow Croom, a local pilot, knows what can happen each time he takes to the skies.

“It’s a good life," Croom said. "You’ve just got to be very very careful."

Croom has been flying crop dusters for more than 40 years.

In that time, Croom said he’s seen his fair share of accidents.

“And if you hit a high line it can be very very serious if not deadly," Croom said.

High lines are power lines.

Sometimes they are relatively small in distance, but that is not always the case.

“Much of the time you just cut them and go on through, but if it’s a big cross country high line, and that seems to be what’s happening here lately, you don’t," Croom said.

On Monday, July 7, just outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas, a crop duster crashed after hitting one.

And back in July, Croom lost his friend Jack Short to a similar crash in Kennett.

“Good guy. Good pilot. Good guy. Who knows what happened, but he flew into a cross country power line. It’s a thing that – It just happens sometimes."

Croom said with around two to three more months left he has a message for other professionals in his field.

“Back up, and look at what they’re doing, and think about the obstacles, and highlines, cross country lines," Croom said. "Their own mental attitude is very important."

Even though he’s been in the business most of his life, Croom said he still tries to remember mistakes can happen.

“Well, I have a little prayer I say when I get up in the morning: Lord, help me not to screw up."

For him and others, flying is a way of life.

“Most pilots will say – you put the airplane on," Croom said. "You don’t get in it – you put it on. It becomes part of you, and when you do that you immediately start thinking about where you’re going."

Some numbers from the National Transportation Safety Board help give an idea of the risk involved in crop dusting.

Between 2013 and 2015 there were around sixty-five crop dusting accidents each year.

Of those, the number of fatal crashes ranged from five to twelve.

This year there have been around forty accidents so far, with 10 fatalities.

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