Co-Pilot Somehow Exits Plane Mid-Flight

Charles Hew Crooks' body was recovered Friday night
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2022 10:26 AM CDT
Co-Pilot Falls to His Death After Exiting Plane Mid-Flight
Stock photo of a twin-engine turbo prop aircraft.   (Getty Images / Tofotografie)

Two people were on board a twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar when it took off on Friday. Only the pilot was in the plane when it landed and came to a stop in the grass at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. CNN reports the co-pilot, 23-year-old Charles Hew Crooks, exited the plane prior to its emergency landing. WRAL reports the plane was having issues with its landing gear and has video of the landing here. Authorities have not yet said whether it's thought Crooks jumped or fell from the plane. He did not have a parachute on, and his body was recovered Friday night in a resident's backyard in Fuquay-Varina, which is about 15 miles from Raleigh.

The News-Observer calls it a "tragic ending to a confusing emergency." Per the paper's timeline, the plane took off from Raeford in Hoke County at 1:10pm and landed about 2:49pm. Darshan Patel, operations manager for Wake County emergency management, said at a news briefing that a report about the missing man was received around 2:30pm or 2:45pm. By 5pm, EMS, police, and fire departments were searching Wake County for the co-pilot; Crooks' body was found after a resident flagged down searchers after hearing something in their backyard. The plane's pilot was taken to a Duke University hospital with minor injuries. (More emergency landing stories.)

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