Who was Charles Crooks? Body of pilot, 23, found in trees after he mysteriously jumped from plane WITHOUT parachute

According to reports, there was some issue with the plane's landing gear and that prompted the pilots to an emergency landing


                            Who was Charles Crooks? Body of pilot, 23, found in trees after he mysteriously jumped from plane WITHOUT parachute
Charles Crooks (inset) died after either jumping or falling out of a small aircraft (WRAL)
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In an unfortunate incident, a 23-year-old co-pilot died after he reportedly jumped out of a 10-person small plane that made an emergency landing on the runway at North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Friday, July 29. Charles Hew Crooks' body was later found stuck in trees in the backyard of a Fuquay-Varina residence. 

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According to WRAL News, a family in the neighborhood of Copain Cove said they heard a loud thud from inside but couldn't spot anything. Reportedly, Charles either jumped or fell out of the plane in midair without a parachute and did not survive the fall. 

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Charles' body was later found in the backyard of a North Carolina home (WRAL)
Charles Crooks' body was later found in the backyard of a North Carolina home (WRAL)

Reports show that there was some issue with the plane's landing gear and that prompted the pilots to an emergency landing. Charles' plane skidded off the runway at Raleigh Durham International Airport and landed in the grass. According to reports, the other pilot landed safely with minor injuries and was released from the local hospital on Friday evening. 

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According to Charles' father Hew Crooks, the 23-year-old was a flight instructor for over a year and had also received a flying certificate. "I can't imagine what happened," he told WRAL News. "We'll figure it out, I suppose." The family is awaiting a final word from investigators regarding what led to the final moment.

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The 10-passenger small plane made an emergency landing on the runway at North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham International Airport (WRAL)
The 10-passenger small plane made an emergency landing on the runway at North Carolina's Raleigh-Durham International Airport (WRAL)

The father said, "We're a strong family and we're a very loving family. But this, it leaves a hole. I don't know. We can't process it right now." Charles was pursuing his pilot license while he was in college. "I think he got that when he was a sophomore, he said couple of weeks ago, he wouldn't trade places with anybody in the world. He loved where he was." Charles' father, while talking about his son, said he was known as a 'flying fanatic' by his loved ones. 

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An audio tape has also been obtained by WRAL News of the pilot asking traffic control for help. The pilot was heard saying, "Emergency, we've lost our right wheel." "We’d like to speak to Raleigh and make an emergency landing at Raleigh." The airfield at RDU was temporarily closed while officials were working to secure the scene. Passengers said that they heard an announcement that said that departures won't be affected by the incident. Only the runway where Charles' plane made its landing was expected to remain close for some time. 

Several witnesses spotted emergency personnel on the runway as the plane came in for a landing. A witness, Simon Palmore, said, "I saw a whole crowd of people looking out at the jet bridge, and then saw that propeller plane on the grass beyond the runway and a couple of emergency vehicles."

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