Pilots die after crop-dusting planes collide in midair in Sutter County

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YUBA CITY — Two small crop-dusting planes collided in midair and crashed into a Northern California rice field Wednesday, killing both pilots, authorities said.

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.

Brian VanDyke, 63, and Burton Haughey, 59, both died at the scene about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Sacramento, sheriff's officials said.

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."

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