Pilot who jumped to death from plane appeared ‘visibly upset’ after mid-flight emergency

A pilot who died of a twin-engine plane in the United States last month appeared “visibly upset” before stepping out of the plane.

He told his co-pilot he felt sick and needed air after a mid-flight emergency and headed for the plane’s ramp door, federal officials said in a preliminary report on Tuesday. .

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Charles Hew Crooks, 23, removed his helmet, got up from his seat and apologized to the lead pilot before ‘exiting’ through the plane’s rear ramp door, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The pilot, who has not been identified, told investigators that Crooks did not appear to reach a bar about 180cm above the ramp before he fell, the report said.

Crook was second in command of the CASA CN-212 Aviocar at the time of the July 29 incident in North Carolina.

He was not wearing a parachute at the time.

US pilot Charles Crooks fell to his death from a twin-engine plane last month, appeared “visibly upset” before leaving the cockpit. Credit: CNB/WRAL

Previously, pilots were carrying skydivers when their plane “fell” below the treeline and its landing gear struck a runway, the report said.

Crooks declared an emergency and coordinated with air traffic controllers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, according to the report.

After about 20 minutes, Crooks became “visibly upset” by the hard landing and stopped communicating with air traffic controllers, the report said.

Around the same time, Crooks opened the cockpit side window and “may have fallen ill,” the pilot in command told investigators, according to the report.

After falling from the plane, the pilot in command alerted air traffic controllers and went in search of Crooks, the report said.

Crooks’ co-pilot landed the plane in a nearby area and went looking for it after the incident. Credit: CNB/WRAL
Crooks’ body was found about five hours later after a resident heard a noise in his garden. Credit: CNB/WRAL

He landed the plane in a grassy area near the Raleigh airport around 2:40 p.m.

Crooks’ body was found in a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood, southwest of Raleigh, about five hours later after a resident heard a noise in his yard.

Crooks’ father, Hew Crooks, told an NBC affiliate, that her son was a certified flight instructor who had spent years working to become a pilot.

“He pursued his private pilot license while he was in college. I think he got it when he was a sophomore,” Crooks told the station.

“He said a few weeks ago that he wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the world. He liked where he was.

“I can’t imagine what happened,” he added. “We’ll find a solution, I guess.”

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