Man jumps out of plane without parachute and dies before emergency landing at NC airport: officials

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Saturday, July 30, 2022
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Officials have identified the man who exited a small cargo plane that later made an emergency landing at RDU was found in Fuquay-Varina, Wake County officials said.

NORTH CAROLINA -- A twin-engine cargo plane made an emergency landing Friday at an airport in North Carolina after reported landing-gear issues, and a search for a person who jumped from it before the landing ended with the recovery of a body, Wake County officials said.

Darshan Patel, the Operations Manager for Wake County Emergency Management Wake EMS said in a 7:15 p.m. briefing that a body matching the description of the missing plane passenger was recovered.

The man identified as Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was found in Fuquay-Varina.

According to Patel, "There was no indication" that Crooks had a parachute.

"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.

The CASA C-212 Aviocar, made in Spain in 1983 landed on Runway 5R-23L at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at about 2:40 p.m. and veered into the grass.

RDU first responders said that the pilot on board was taken to Duke Hospital with minor injuries.

The pilot told authorities that a passenger aboard jumped out before the landing attempt. The jumper was initially thought to have exited the plane toward a body of water. Authorities were actively searching that area but later expanded the search to Fuquay-Varina.

"We have a very large search area," Patel said at a media briefing Friday afternoon.

"At this time, what we know is that the passenger was wearing tan pants and a logo-branded shirt," Patel said. "We don't have the color, but that's all the description we have at this time. We are working with RDU and the FAA and the pilot

Crews launched a drone to help in the search. Cary was one of several jurisdictions involved in the search. Fire, police and EMS personnel also assisted.

Back at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the airfield was temporarily closed until the scene was secured, RDU officials said.

At least one American Airlines flight (Flight 2693) from Dallas was diverted. Others had delayed landings as a result of the incident.

The plane landed after it was unable to open its right landing gear. The left landing gear appeared to be working properly.

The plane is owned by Spore LTD LLC in Colorado Springs and took off from Raeford. Efforts to reach Spore LTD and Hoke County aviation officials were unsuccessful.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.