Reward offered for information on shots fired at a plane
- UPDATE - 5/3/14
Imagine flying a crop-dusting plane only to find when you land, someone was shooting at you.
It was real life for one Suwannee County man, here's what he told us.
What we know is the plane was crop dusting a field near Rocky Sink road in the Falmouth area and at least one bullet struck the plane. Investigators say it's too much of a coincidence to be an accident and now they're canvassing neighborhoods near the field where it happened to try and find the culprit.
Ty Hiers who was piloting the plane says it started off like any other day of cropdusting and although he didn't hear any gunshots he did notice something which made him uneasy.
"That particular day, that particular field I did see an older gentleman, he came outside and he was holding a cardboard sign and at the altitude I was at and the turn I could not tell what the sign said. But he was acting in a manner that he really didn't want me in the area."
After he landed he did a routine check of the aircraft where he noticed a bullet hole in his fan blade and on his wheel strut.
"We got very blessed with where it actually hit. If it had been an inch further or behind it would have missed that strut altogether and would have punctured a fuel tank."
Hiers dosn't believe the plane would have exploded but says it definitely would have begun leaking fuel which he probably wouldn't have noticed until too late.
"It probably would have drained the fuel out of that tank and I would have ended up in a field somewhere, or no telling where but I probably would not have made it back to the airport."
Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St. John explained why shooting at a plane is such a cuse for concern. "Even if you hit the plane and damage the plane to where it can't function no more, that plane has to come down somewhere. If it comes down on someone's house that's going to naturally be an issue there. Or if he has to do an emergency landing on a roadway and theres' vehicles on the road way theres just all kind of things that could go wrong by shooting at a plane."
If you have a complaint about crop dusters flying near your home, the best action is to call the company in charge of the planes directly sayd Hiers.
"Nine times out of ten we can solve all your problems by a simple phone call and tell us where you're located at and we'll stay away from your house if at all possible. If it's not possible we will coordinate with you on what we'll be doing."
A thousand dollar reward is being offered by a seperate Suwannee County business man who also flys his own private planes for any information leading to an arrest and a conviction.
A one thousand dollar reward is being offered in a shooting case in Suwannee County.
A North Florida Ag Services Inc. plane was shot at on Monday while spraying in Live Oak. A fan blade and wheel strut were damaged, but no one was hurt.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office at 386-362-2222.