The Crop Duster Incident

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One of my nine lives was used up in 1980. Dana Hanson and I were heading to Palisades Reservoir in my Jeep CJ-7. Ahead on the right road was a large 60 foot high cottonwood tree standing above an old farmhouse. I spotted a crop duster approaching the tree from the right. What happened next is summarized in a “just the facts” manner in the article below. The immediacy and danger of the event is not described or even hinted at in the narrative.

”Look, tha plane almost hit the three. It’s dragging something behind it. Lookout!” As fast as I could shout those words it happened. The plane clipped a power line which caught on the small wheel at the bottom end of the crop duster. The weight of the wire made it difficult for the plane to pull up. The crop duster just cleared the cottonwood. The end of the a power line pulled through the tree and swung down, striking the Jeep on the broad plate below the vehicle’s windshield and directly in front of Dana. The windshield was vaporized by the impact. Fortunately, the wire was pulled across the roof and did not enter the cab and we were spared serious injury.

I managed to pull the vehicle to the roadside by the old farmhouse. Another traveler stopped to give us assistance. A few minutes later an employee of the crop dusting company arrived. He was soon followed by the state police and the paramedics. Finally, the pilot arrived full of apologies. Undoubtedly, he came as close as we did to departing to this world.

There was not a piece of windshield left bigger than a quarter. Dana had two small cuts on her face. Luck was with us.

Next: Circling Squaretop Mountain

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