Man killed in crop duster crash in Arkansas identified as Wheatley Volunteer Fire Department chief

Posted: July 11, 2018 at 9:32 a.m.
Updated: July 11, 2018 at 5:04 p.m.

Chad Mclain, 42, of Wheatley

Officials have identified the man killed in the crash of a crop duster in eastern Arkansas early Wednesday

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.

St. Francis County Deputy Coroner Miles Kimble said 42-year-old Chad McLain of Wheatley died in the wreck.

McLain served as the fire 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 42-year-old 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.

His body was being taken Wednesday to the state medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death, Kimble said.

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

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