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Co-pilot who exited plane without parachute at 3,500 feet was 'visibly upset' about prior hard landing and 'apologized' before departing aircraft, NTSB report says
Image source: YouTube screenshot, composite

Co-pilot who exited plane without parachute at 3,500 feet was 'visibly upset' about prior hard landing and 'apologized' before departing aircraft, NTSB report says

A co-pilot who mysteriously exited a small plane without a parachute 3,500 feet above North Carolina on July 29 was "visibly upset" about a prior hard landing and "apologized" before departing the aircraft, according to a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report, WRAL-TV said.

The body of Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was found in a Fuquay-Varina backyard hours after the pilot-in-command landed the plane at Raleigh-Durham International Airport that same day, the station said.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Image source: YouTube screenshot

What are the details?

The unnamed pilot-in-command told the NTSB the pair had flown two skydiving runs that day and were attempting to land at Raeford West Airport to pick up a third group, WRAL said.

Crooks was flying the approach when the plane descended below the tree line and "dropped," the station said, adding that both pilots called for a "go-around maneuver," which Crooks initiated.

But before Crooks could begin climbing, the right main landing gear hit the runway, WRAL reported.

The pilot-in-command took over control from Crooks and flew a low approach so airfield personnel could verify damage, the station said, adding that airfield employees communicated that they recovered a broken piece of the landing gear on the runway.

With that, the pilot-in-command told Crooks to declare an emergency and request diversion to Raleigh-Durham for a landing, WRAL said.

The pilot-in-command reported moderate turbulence during the flight and that about 20 minutes into the diversion to Raleigh-Durham — after conducting an approach and emergency briefing — Crooks became "visibly upset" about the hard landing, the station said.

According to the report, Crooks had been communicating with air traffic control up until that point, WRAL said, adding that the pilot-in-command said after Crooks' final transmission, Crooks opened his side cockpit window and "may have gotten sick."

The pilot-in-command then took over radio communications, the station said, adding that Crooks lowered the ramp in the back of the plane, "indicating that felt like he was going to be sick and needed air."

The report added that Crooks "got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door," WRAL said.

In addition, the pilot-in-command told investigators Crooks did not appear to reach for a bar about six feet above the ramp before his exit from the plane, USA Today noted, citing the three-page NTSB report.

Co-pilot was 'visibly upset' and 'may have gotten sick'; In control at time of mishapyoutu.be

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Dave Urbanski

Dave Urbanski

Sr. Editor, News

Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News and has been writing for Blaze News since 2013. He has also been a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, and a book editor. He resides in New Jersey. You can reach him at durbanski@blazemedia.com.
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