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Plane makes emergency landing

Posted: Tuesday, Jul 30th, 2013

Robert Dalby, 66, Monte Vista, walked away from this crash of a crop-dusting biplane just after 7 a.m. Monday northeast of Monte. The plane is owned by Crop Care, Inc. of Monte Vista and may have stalled just before the crash about one mile north of the river and a half mile west of the 6 East (Alamosa-Rio Grande county line.) Courier photo by Keith R. Cerny

Courier editor

MONTE VISTA — Pilot Robert Dalby, 66, Monte Vista, walked away with no injuries after flipping a crop duster during an emergency landing early Monday morning.

“I was out in my yard pulling weeds while it was cool, and I heard the engine stall,” said David Medina, 68, whose property lies across the road from where Dalby was working early Monday.

Medina said he saw the small plane start back up, unload its fungicide on the Lester field and then try to find a place to land because the engine was cutting out. Medina called in the emergency shortly after 7 a.m.

“I drove where I knew he was going to fall,” Medina recalled. He had some flying experience in the military and had an idea what was happening.

Rio Grande County Undersheriff Ed Rapps said the sheriff’s office received a call at 7:38 a.m. to respond to the emergency landing at County Road 6 East.

Rapps said the crop duster Dalby was piloting hit a canal, which flipped the plane. “If that canal hadn’t been there, he would have been O.K.”

As it was, Dalby, who flies for Crop Care Inc., was not injured during the emergency landing.

“He walked away with no scratches,” Rapps said.

Medina said when he helped Dalby out of the cockpit, he seemed to be all right.

Rapps said he believed Dalby was having some mechanical problems and had to set the plane down, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the incident to determine the exact cause.

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