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NTSB: Co-pilot 'visibly shaken' before exiting plane mid-air

A new preliminary report provides insight into what caused a 23-year-old pilot to exit a damaged plane. Airborne before his co-pilot made an emergency landing in North Carolina last month. 

On July 29, Charles Hugh Crooks disembarked from a small freighter CASA 212-200 still in the air about 30 miles south of Raleigh-Durham International Airport. He did not have a parachute and his body was found in a backyard in the town of Fuquay Varina. His co-pilot and the only other person on board the plane survived the emergency landing unharmed.The two were on a series of skydiving trips at the time. After the 

incident, the question remained whether the Crooks crashed or jumped out of the plane. Two unnamed Federal Aviation Administration employees are heard telling the 911 dispatcher that the plane was heading to the airport. 

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report containing information gathered about what happened during the flight. Did. The report is not final and no final conclusions have been reached. 

Crookes' unnamed co-pilot told NTSB investigators that he would be conducting two skydives that day and that he would fly to Rayford to pick up a third group of skydivers. said it began to descend at West Airport. The main landing gear was damaged after impacting the runway surface. 

The NTSB report described Crooks as the plane's "second-in-command" and the surviving pilot as the "captain." 

According to the report, Crookes' co-pilot declared an emergency on him and instructed him to request a diversion to Durham International Airport for landing. did. According to reports, the pilot kept the CASA in Raleigh while he prepared to land in Durham while Crooks was in contact with air traffic control. 

The pilot told his NTSB Raleigh, 20 minutes after his diversion to Durham, Crook was "visibly upset" by his impending hard landing that air traffic control Crook said he opened up after his last contact with . His side cockpit window and “may have been sick,” the report read. 

In an interview with an NTSB investigator, the surviving pilot stated that Crooks lowered the plane's rear ramp, feeling sick and needed air. 

According to the surviving pilot, Crooks "rose from his seat, removed his headset, apologized, and left the plane through his door on the back ramp," his NTSB report said. says. 

The pilot told the NTSB that he has a bar above the ramp that he can grab about six feet up. According to reports, the impostor did not grab a bar before exiting the plane.After he left the plane, the surviving pilot turned the plane to the right to search for Crook, before making an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham. Crook informed air traffic control that he "departed the plane without a parachute," the report said. 

An examination of the plane revealed "substantial damage to the right main landing gear, landing gear attachment, and airframe structure to which the attachment is attached." I was. 

The NTSB will release a more comprehensive final report on the incident at a later date.   

  • Emergency Landing
  • North Carolina
  • Plane Crash

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