Charles Hew Crooks: Co-Pilot Dies After Falling or Jumping from Aircraft after Landing Gear Malfunctions Before Pilot Crash Lands Plane [WATCH]

According to reports, Crooks wasn't wearing a parachute at the time he jumped or fell off the aircraft.

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A 23-year-old co-pilot of a small cargo plane died either by jumping or falling from the aircraft in North Carolina after the plane's landing gear suffered a fault. Charles Hew Crooks' body was found in Fuquay-Varina on Friday after an extensive search that involved multiple counties, state and federal agencies.

According to reports, Crooks wasn't wearing a parachute at the time he jumped or fell off the aircraft. It isn't known what exactly happened but authorities believe that he either jumped or fell from the plane after the landing gear malfunctioned. However, the unnamed pilot of the plane managed to land the plane in a grass area at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after the incident.

Strange Accident

Charles Hew Crooks
Charles Hew Crooks Twitter

Crooks and a pilot were onboard a twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar when it took off Friday. However, just before it was attempting to land, the landing gear suffered a fault. Authorities investigating the incident said that Crooks either jumped or fell at that time.

He wasn't wearing a parachute, which resulted in his death. However, it wasn't easy recovering his body as it had fallen off far away from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport where the plane was destined to land.

After an extensive search, that involved multiple counties, state and federal agencies, Crooks' body was found in the backyard in the town of Fuquay-Varina, 30 miles from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, where the plane was finally landed by the other pilot of the aircraft.

In a video obtained by NBC affiliate WRAL of Raleigh, the plane appears to skid off the runway and spin in a partial circle before coming to a stop.

The pilot had to be taken to the hospital after landing.

Charles Hew Crooks
Charles Hew Crooks Twitter

The Department of Defense's Rampart Aviation, which provides pilot and aircraft training, issued the plane's license to Spore LTD LLC, which is administered by Spore LTD LLC.

There is currently uncertainty surrounding Crook's unfortunate death, including whether he jumped from the plane on purpose or fell from it, possibly while attempting to fix the problem with the landing gear.

Mysterious Death

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident. According to his father, Hew Crooks, he was a "flying fanatic" who had always wanted to take to the skies.

Crash landing
The plane which Charles Hew Crooks was flying crash landed at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport Twitter

"I don't know," Hew Crooks told WRAL. "We can't process it right now, I don't know."

"I think he got that when he was a sophomore, he said a couple of weeks ago, he wouldn't trade places with anybody in the world. He loved where he was."

The cause of Crooks' son's death is still a mystery to his father, he told WRAL, adding that he "can't imagine what happened."

His son's body was found when a person flagged authorities after hearing 'something' in their backyard.

Crash landing
The aircraft after after making a crash landing Twitter

Hew claimed that Charles had been working for his pilot's license during his time in college and went on to serve as a flight instructor after receiving the necessary training to fly in practically any situation.

"We're a strong family and we're a very loving family. But this, it leaves a hole," said his father. "I don't know. We can't process it right now."

On Friday shortly before 3 p.m., a twin-engine turboprop plane made a landing on the runway but then veered onto the grass after experiencing problems with its landing gear as it neared the airport.

Darshan Patel
Darshan Patel, operations manager for Wake County emergency management, said that Crooks either had jumped or fallen off the aircraft but died because he wasn't wearing a parachute Twitter

The co-pilot who was still alive called air traffic control, saying, "We'd like to speak to Raleigh and make an emergency landing at Raleigh," according to audio taken from the aircraft.

Prior to the emergency landing, the pilot reported that "we've lost our right wheel," which prompted the airport to close the airfield until the incident was secured.

While they tried to secure the area, officials temporarily shuttered the RDU airfield. An announcement indicating the incident will not have an impact on departures was heard, according to travelers at the airport.

This article was first published on July 31, 2022