Amarillo agribusiness owner killed in Castro Co. helicopter cras - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Amarillo agribusiness owner killed in Castro Co. helicopter crash


The Castro County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Highway Patrol are investigating a helicopter crash that happened between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

On Sunday, June 4, 2017, the Castro Co. Sheriff's office received a call just after 8 a.m. from the Parmer County Sheriff's office about a possible helicopter crash in Castro County. 

When emergency responders arrived, the crash was found in the southwestern area of Castro County, in a wheat field, about a half mile south of the 200 block of County Road 623.

The pilot of the helicopter, 68-year-old Donald Lee Oppliger of Amarillo, was pronounced deceased at the scene.

According to the Eastern New Mexico News, Parmer Co. Sheriff Randy Geries said Oppliger was the only person in the plane and his son reported him missing. One of Oppliger's employees found the crash site not long after a search began.

An autopsy has been ordered and there is no word on what caused the crash.

The investigation into the crash is also being conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Bureau.   

According to the company's website, the Oppliger Companies started with a feedlot outside of Farwell and has grown to include six large-scale feedlots, more than 55,000 acres of irrigated farmland, a dairy and thousands of acres of ranch land. The Farwell feedlot started with 15,000 head of cattle, then acquired 35,000 head feedlot near Clovis. The company expanded to Lincoln, Nebraska. 

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