The body of a co-pilot who apparently jumped out of a plane without a parachute as it made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport was found behind a house late Friday, police said.
Charles Hew Crooks, 23, “exited the plane while it was in air,” said Carolyn Roman, an official with the Town of Cary. The twin-engine turbo prop aircraft reported landing gear issues as it neared the airport Friday afternoon. The pilot landed the plane on some grass near a runway and suffered minor injuries.
Authorities received a report about the missing man around 2:30 or 2:45 p.m., said Darshan Patel, operations manager for Wake County emergency management. The body was found around 7 p.m. when a Fuquay-Varina resident flagged down searchers. Patel said search crews had “wished for a better outcome.”
Federal officials are investigating the death of a co-pilot who exited a plane in mid-air in North Carolina. https://t.co/kacbksp5La
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“We had officers that were responding in the area for the search and were flagged down by a resident. They had heard something in their backyard which led to us finding this individual,” Patel said.
Patel didn’t know whether the man had jumped or fallen or how high the plane was flying when he exited the plane. The pilot told authorities that the only passenger had jumped out before the landing attempt.
Patel and the Fuquay-Varina Police Department deferred questions on the investigation to the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.
The News & Observer, citing data from FlightAware.com, said the plane departed from Raeford in Hoke County at 1:10 p.m. and landed about 2:49 p.m. Because the flight was not a commercial flight, airport officials did not know the intended destination. The CASA C-212 Aviocar, made in Spain in 1983, is registered to Spore LTD LLC from Colorado Springs, according to FlightAware.
Fuquay-Varina is roughly 15 miles southwest of Raleigh.