Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Weatherly 620B, N9017K, Headwaters Flying Service LLC: Incident occurred July 18, 2017 in Belgrade, Gallatin County, Montana

Headwaters Flying Service LLC:

BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Gallatin County sheriff's office is investigating after shots were fired at a crop dusting airplane as it applied fungicide to a wheat field near Belgrade. 

Headwaters Flying Service owner Cody Folkvord says his plane was hit twice Tuesday morning by shots fired from the ground. The pilot, Robert Nicholson, was not injured and was able to land safely.

Nicholson says one shot in the aircraft's left wing and the other hit its right wing, at most about 18 inches from the cockpit. He tells NBC Montana he knew right away that was he heard was a gunshot.

"I was in a little bit of shock and disbelief. It's something you hear about but not something you expect to happen in a rural community. There are a lot of people out there who don't understand that what we do is take care of crops around here. We take care of the farmland," Nicholson said.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's office tells NBC Montana their office has received threats in the past from people complaining about crop duster planes. They say the person responsible may face attempted homicide and assault with a weapon charges.

Because shooting a plane is a federal offense, the FAA is also involved in this investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's office.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and FBI are investigating after a crop dusting plane was reportedly shot repeatedly while working near Belgrade Tuesday morning.

The plane, said Headwaters Flying Service owner Cody Folkvord, was putting fungicide on a wheat crop northeast of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport at about 8 a.m. Tuesday when it was hit twice by shots fired from the ground.

One bullet, Folkvord said, penetrated the aircraft’s left wing and another its right wing — the second bullet striking “a foot-and-a-half, at most” from the cockpit.

The pilot was uninjured and able to make a landing in Three Forks, he said, after doing a flyby at the Bozeman control tower to make sure the plane wasn’t leaking fuel or oil. Had the pilot been incapacitated or a vital part of the aircraft damaged, he said, the plane could have crashed into homes in the area.

“I want to find the person who did this,” Folkvord said.

“All we’re trying to do is make a living, and keep these farmers in business as well,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for us,” he said, “the wheat crop wouldn’t survive and the farmers wouldn’t survive.”

Gallatin County Undersheriff Dan Springer said Wednesday that the department had taken a report for the incident and referred it to its detective’s division. An FBI spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon that the agency is also involved in the investigation.

No comments:

Post a Comment