SUMNER — The National Traffic Safety Board continues to investigate the fatal crash last week of a single-engine crop dusting airplane across Highway 93 from Sumner’s Dollar General. Pilot David Baker, 56, of Swedesburg, Iowa, was declared dead at the scene.
Authorities have not released a cause of death, but Baker’s obituary says he died from injuries sustained in the accident.
The Sumner Police
Saturday on its Facebook page that the wreckage has been mostly removed from the scene, with any remnants to be cleaned up Monday.
“At this time, we want to thank everyone for their assistance with far too many people, businesses and organizations to list,” a police statement read. “But, we also want to thank the community for the support. Without it, things would be far more difficult.
“The status of the investigation is still on going with many details being unknown and may never be truly known. All we know now
is that it was a tragic loss of life with a family affected.”
The statement said the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing to investigate.
A funeral for Baker will be at 10:30 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 17, at Faith Christian Outreach Church in Mt. Pleasant. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Deborah, and three children.
He was an aircraft mechanic and pilot, who accumulated more than 25,000 hours of flight time and has flown 35 different aircraft ranging from World War II warbirds to most of the agricultural aircraft ever built, according to his obituary from Olson-Powell Memorial Chapel of Mt. Pleasant.
According to authorities, Baker’s crop duster clipped a power line along West First Street/Iowa Highway 93 Thursday morning, before crashing in front of a mixed-use building next to Norby’s Farm Fleet and across the street from the Dollar General.
Electricity was knocked out to the west of Country Heights Drive, which is on the Butler County REC grid.
Bremer County dispatch received multiple 911 calls at 7:22 a.m. about the crash. Sumner and Tripoli police, Sumner Fire and EMS, the Bremer County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management Agency, Iowa State Patrol and Iowa Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Enforcement all responded to the scene. The NTSB arrived on Friday.
Witnesses say the plane was engulfed in flames following impact, and a tire from the plane flew nearly 200 yards over the Norby’s parking lot and across Country Heights, before bouncing into and shattering the front door of Iowa State Bank.
According to NTSB data and news reports, there have been six other plane crashes in Iowa so far this year. The Sumner crash is the lone fatality. Past years have been more deadly. In 2018, four people died in a crash near Guthrie Center. In 2017, five people died in three crashes.
Regionally, a single-engine plane crash landed in Independence on March 15 after running out of fuel. The pilot sustained minor injuries.
On June 20, in Elkader, a single-engine plane crashed when it overshot the end of a runway. The pilot received minor injuries.
Two other crop duster crashes have been reported this year. One in Ida Grove on July 21 and the other in Council Bluffs on July 16.
A student pilot crashed in Oskaloosa on June 26. No injuries were reported.
Oelwein Daily Register managing editor Chris Baldus contributed to this report