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Arkansas farmer, volunteer fire chief killed in crop-duster crash

A man who served as a volunteer firefighter was killed in the crash of a crop-duster in eastern Arkansas early Wednesday.

Chad McLain, 42, of Wheatley died in the crash, said St. Francis County Deputy Coroner Miles Kimble.

McLain served as the chief of the Wheatley Volunteer Fire Department and had been a member of the agency since 1994, according to a statement from the Wheatley Marshal Service.

The farmer and agricultural pilot is survived by his wife and daughter.

"The entire staff of the St. Francis County sheriff's department offer our sincerest condolences to the family of Chief McLain as well as the entire Wheatley community that are affected by this tremendous loss," Sheriff Bobby May said in the statement.

A spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said the agency was notified shortly before 7 a.m. of the crash in a field off Arkansas 78 north of Wheatley in St. Francis County.

There was no immediate confirmation that the person killed was the pilot, though most agricultural aircraft have only one seat, said Lynn Lunsford, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The state medical examiner's office will examine the body to determine the cause of death, Kimble said.

No information on the cause of the crash was released. Lunsford said FAA investigators were headed to the scene Wednesday.

Metro on 07/12/2018

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