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'Accident or nefarious?': Expert questions whether pilot Charles Crooks really 'jumped' off the plane

An expert argued that the only possibility in the scenario is that Crook had an injury while preparing for emergency or something wicked happened to the dead pilot
The unnamed surviving pilot of the airplane had claimed that his co-pilot Charles Hew Crooks (inset) jumped out of the plane to his death on July 29, 2022 (WRAL)
The unnamed surviving pilot of the airplane had claimed that his co-pilot Charles Hew Crooks (inset) jumped out of the plane to his death on July 29, 2022 (WRAL)

An expert is casting doubts on the spine-chilling reports of a North Carolina pilot jumping out of the snafu plane, leaving his co-pilot to conduct the emergency landing.

A small twin-engine CASA 212-200 airplane with two pilots on board made an emergency landing on Friday afternoon at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. But when the crew opened the gate of the damaged airplane, only one of the pilots was on board. Later, the surviving pilot of the airplane revealed his co-pilot Charles Hew Crooks, 23, jumped out of the plane to his death on July 29, 2022. However, a pilot and lawyer Fred Tecce told Fox News Digital that it would be highly unlikely.


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Talking about the chilling incident, Tecce said, "[I] Would be astonished if he jumped out of the airplane. Any commercially rated pilot knows not to do that. He’s not a knucklehead."

"Any pilot knows that a landing gear mishap is nothing. If the plane is on fire or falling then that’s a different story. I’ve had landing gear problems, and you fly around and try to troubleshoot it. It is not a big deal ever. As long as you maintain control. Any pilot knows it’s nothing to get concerned about," he added.

Tecce argued that the only possibility in this scenario is Crook suffered a vital injury while preparing for the emergency or that something wicked happened with the dead pilot. "There could’ve been something going on between the pilot and co-pilot or he may have tried to open the door in anticipation. On that airplane with the door, you get yanked or pulled out with the door. He could’ve slipped or fallen," Tecce said.

"Was his departing the aircraft an accident or nefarious?" he asked. "The pilot is going to be facing a lot of questioning," he said, adding, "It will be interesting if he lawyers up because right now there is no evidence he did something wrong."


After the emergency landing of the airplane, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed the plane’s landing gear was damaged at some point in time which made the plane skid off the runway into the grass between two of the runways at the Raleigh airport.

"Emergency, we’ve lost our right wheel," the pilot can be heard saying in a recording obtained by NBC. "We’d like to speak to Raleigh and make an emergency landing at Raleigh." He added while asking for help from Air traffic control.

The identity of the surviving pilot has not been revealed by the officials. Police are still thoroughly investigating the incident. Crooks' father was at a loss for why his son might have jumped from the aircraft. "He said a couple of weeks ago, he wouldn't trade places with anybody in the world. He loved where he was," he told WRAL. "I can't imagine what happened." Crooks had been working as a flight instructor for roughly a year before losing his life.