An individual fell or jumped out of a plane Friday, before the aircraft touched down at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
The aircraft was forced to land in an emergency landing because of problems with the landing gear. WRAL reported.
The 23-year-old copilot’s body was eventually located in a neighbor’s backyard in Fuquay-Varina that evening following a search.
Officials stated that
Charles Hew Crooks died shortly after landing. When Crooks either jumped or fell from the plane, he reportedly was not wearing a parachute.
23-year-old Charles Hew Crooks was copiloting a plane yesterday when it lost part of its landing gear.
As the pilot attempted to land at RDU Crooks either fell or jumped from the aircraft without a parachutist. He didn’t survive.
— Keenan Willard (@KeenanWRAL) July 30, 2022
The aircraft had a capacity of ten people, but only two were present and the pilot was the only one who was there after the landing.
Video footage showed the plane approaching the airport runway as a helicopter hovered nearby. After landing, the plane appeared to be tilting towards one side:
The remaining pilot was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He was later released.
WRAL received audio from the pilot asking for assistance.
“Emergency: We’ve lost the right wheel.” The pilot added, “We would like to talk to Raleigh, and make an emergency landing at Raleigh .”
“I don’t know. Hew Crooks (the father of Charles Hew Crooks) spoke out to NBC News about the tragic loss.
The family awaits investigators to investigate the tragedy:
” We’re strong families and are very loving, but it just leaves us with a gap that we don’t know how to fill,” Crooks’ father said.
The airport’s airfield was temporarily closed until security personnel secured it.
Meanwhile, a resident in the area where Crooks’ body was found told ABC 11 he felt terrible for the young man’s family:
” I don’t think we will ever know the truth, but it is just insane… and it makes you sad, right? Of it being a 23-year-old guy. He said that he probably woke up the next day and had just finished breakfast so he was prepared to fly.