Pilot dies in crop-duster crash

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BETHEL TOWNSHIP — Authorities said a 25-year-old man died when the single-engine crop-dusting plane he was piloting crashed in a field in the region.

Michigan State Police said Phillip Ching was crop dusting late Saturday afternoon in Branch County's Bethel Township.

Investigators said he was the plane's only occupant and appears to have died on impact.

He was working for Lutes Flying Service, the plane's owner.

Police said Ching was originally from Elsie, Michigan, but he had been living in Middlebury, Indiana during the summer.

An autopsy is planned, and the crash remains under investigation by the state police and Federal Aviation Administration.

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