How did Charles Hew Crooks die? 911 call reveals pilot JUMPED out of plane before emergency landing
A 911 call from air traffic controllers suggests that a co-pilot may have jumped from a damaged plane before the other pilot made an emergency landing
According to a recording of the 911 call made by air traffic controllers, it appears that a co-pilot may have leaped from a damaged jet before the other pilot made an emergency landing in North Carolina on Tuesday, August 2. Charles Hew Crooks, 23, reportedly jumped out of the tiny cargo plane on Friday around 30 miles south of Raleigh-Durham International Airport. It is unknown exactly how or why he did this. In the town of Fuquay-Varina, his body was discovered in a backyard without a parachute. The 911 dispatcher overhears two unidentified Federal Aviation Administration workers saying that the plane was flying to the airport. According to a new report, the pilot on board reportedly told them that his co-pilot had ‘jumped out of the aircraft.’
According to The Sun, a controller told the 911 dispatcher, “We have a pilot that was inbound to the field. His co-pilot jumped out of the aircraft. He made an impact on the ground and here are the coordinates.” The call lasted about 13 minutes, with the controllers stating several times that the co-pilot had jumped. The initial 911 call, according to Wake County Emergency Management Chief of Operations Darshan Patel, was what sparked the search for Crooks. According to early data acquired by the National Transportation Safety Board, the aircraft's landing gear and fuselage received significant damage.
Meanwhile, Charles Crooks' father, Hew Crooks, informed that he had no idea what had happened to his son, saying, "I can’t imagine what happened. We’ll figure it out, I suppose. We can’t process it right now, I don’t know. He pursued his private pilot license while in college. I think he got that when he was a sophomore. He said a couple of weeks ago, that he wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world. He loved where he was." According to Crooks, his son has experience as a flying instructor and was qualified to fly in any weather. He claimed that his son's death had left the family with an unfillable gap. “We’re a strong family and we’re a very loving family. But this, it leaves a hole,” he remarked.
Wake Emergency Management giving an update on the recovery of a person missing after jumping or falling from plane earlier today.— Wake County Government (@WakeGOV) July 30, 2022
Thankful to partners @WakeCountyEMS, @TownofFV fire & police departments,@TOC_Safety & @TownofCary fire department who helped recover the individual. pic.twitter.com/1PSmBvPQkD
Questions about the investigation into RDU, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board were deferred to Patel and the Fuquay-Varina Police Department. According to Patel, searchers traced the plane's flight plan and compared it to the radio communication from the pilot. Patel said that using a helicopter and a drone, searchers thoroughly explored a wide region from Southern Wake County to the boundary with Harnett County. Brandon Medina, the police chief of Fuquay-Varina, described the circumstances as ‘unusual’ but did not say whether a criminal investigation was being conducted. The inquiry is still ongoing.
First on @WRAL: we spoke with the father of the 23-year-old copilot who died before an emergency plane landing at RDU.— Keenan Willard (@KeenanWRAL) July 31, 2022
The dad of Charles Hew Crooks says his son was an experienced flyer who was living his dream, and they’re struggling to understand this sudden loss. pic.twitter.com/SasF8Buw98