MOHAVE VALLEY—The pilot at the center of an emergency health alert following the annual egg drop in Mohave Valley is speaking out.
Jake Dare, a crop duster with Twin Eagles Aviation says he prepared correctly for this event and that there were no eggs tainted with pesticides.
“We have done the event—Harvest Bible Church’s Egg Drop—for the last 3 years,” said Dare. “After all the eggs come out of the plane I do one more pass and pop smoke to inform the people on the ground all the eggs have been dropped and to send the kids out.”
However, today’s “pop of smoke” turned into worry by some on the ground that the smoke was a pesticide that may have tainted the 2,000 plastic eggs dropped from the aircraft bay.
Dare says those reports are untrue.
“The aircraft was cleaned out this morning by myself. All messages I have been sent, people are saying they smelt fuel,” said Dare. “That would be from the smoke which comes out of the exhaust.”
Dare said the aircraft is cleaned out by himself personally before every event he participates in.
The cause for alert started after a public post by the Mohave Valley Fire Department Saturday afternoon.
The fire department posted on the issue after being contacted by the Mohave County Department of Emergency Management regarding allegations that pesticides may have tainted the eggs.
The alert instructed attendees to discard any candy and eggs from the event. It also warned parents to keep an eye on their child for any symptoms related to possible poisoning if they had already consumed candy.
“Our main concern is the safety and well-being of our residents,” said MVFD. “The purpose of this page—MVFD Facebook—is to only post information that is true and correct, to the best of our knowledge. In a situation such as this, we would rather err on the side of caution.”
In a press release late Saturday night, the Mohave County Department of Public Health said it’s department had received complaints concerning the candy distributed during egg drop event.
The plane used by the organizers to drop the candy at the event had reportedly been used for agricultural purposes, the release said. Furthermore, it states the plane was reportedly scrubbed multiple times prior to being used for the candy drop and at the time of the press release no illnesses had been reported to MCDPH.
The MCDPH said that while no illnesses had been reported, attendees should—as a precaution—not consume the candy and the eggs and candy should be disposed of properly in a trash container to avoid any further contact.
“We understand the concern and believe the event was handled properly,” said Dare. “We would like to thank the church for letting us participate in their annual event, but we will no longer be doing it.”
The annual event is held each year in Mohave Valley for children in the Tri-State at no charge.