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Crop dusting pilot who died in plane crash near Gwinner was husband, father of three

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GWINNER, N.D. -- A crop spraying pilot died early Thursday morning while attempting to spray pesticides on a potato field in dense fog about eight miles west of Gwinner in southeast North Dakota.

The pilot, 45-year-old John Goerger, was from the small town of Barney in southeast North Dakota. He was married and had children.

Sargent County Sheriff Travis Paeper said a nearby farmer and his wife were having coffee on their patio about 7:45 a.m. when they heard the plane, saw it emerge from the fog and nosedive into a soybean field about 500 yards from their farm home.

The farmer called 911 and his brother who was a volunteer firefighter and they rushed to the scene along with emergency responders.  The pilot was dead at the scene, said the sheriff.

The plane was a single-engine Air Tractor 602 made in 2010 and had taken off from the Lisbon Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause.