NTSB: Co-pilot “visibly upset” before jumping from plane at RDU

Charles Crooks
Charles Crooks(WRAL)
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:18 PM EDT
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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Federal investigators say a co-pilot who jumped from his plane before an emergency landing last month at RDU was “visibly upset” about an aborted landing at another airport some 20 minutes before.

The National Transportation Safety Board today released its preliminary report on the fatal accident that happened on July 29th.

Charles Crooks was the co-pilot of the Casa 212-200 which, according to the NTSB, had been on two skydiving runs and was about to pickup a third group at the Raeford West Airport. The report says with Crooks flying the plane, on approach the aircraft “dropped” and before the 23-year-old could perform a go-around maneuver, the plane’s main right landing gear hit the runway, breaking it off from the aircraft.

The aircraft then headed to RDU for an emergency landing.

About 20 minutes into the diversion flight, the pilot said Crooks became “visibly upset about the hard landing” and that he may have gotten sick. The report says Crooks lowered the ramp in the back of the airplane “indicating that felt like he was going to be sick and needed air.”

The pilot said Crooks “then got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized, and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door.”

The body of Crooks was later found in a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood and he was not wearing a parachute.

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