PLEASANT GROVE, California — Two people were killed Wednesday, when two single-engine planes collided midair in Pleasant Grove, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The pilots, 63-year-old Brian Julean Van Dyke and 67-year-old Burton Allen Haughey, were flying around noon in two "Grumman G-164C Ag Cat" crop-dusting planes, said Sutter County Undersheriff Scott Smallwood.
The Ag Cat planes are agricultural planes used to drop fertilizer and herbicide on land, Deputy Andre Licon said, adding that the area where the crash occurred — near Striplin Road, is primarily rice and farm fields. The single-engine Grumman G-164C Ag Cats were seeding the field at the time of the collision around midday, according to the Sutter County Sheriff's Office.
Authorities originally received a call of a single plane crash. But when first-responders arrived, they realized it was two, officials said.
Television news showed the mangled planes about 600 feet (183 meters) from each other in an open field.
Haughey was found inside his plane and VanDyke was discovered on the ground outside the other aircraft, officials said.
Friends told reporters that both men came from families of pilots.
"Both their dads flew airplanes," Tom Beilby said. "They started flying airplanes when they were young guys."
There was no immediate word on what caused the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate.
Beilby said he was the best man at VanDyke's wedding.
"Today's a tough (day)," he said. "They died doing what they loved to do."
The FAA and NTSB are investigating.