Air traffic controllers say co-pilot ‘jumped’ from plane: 911 call

A distress call made by air traffic controllers suggests a co-pilot who died last week after exiting a plane during a mid-flight emergency may have jumped, a recording released Tuesday showed.

The body of Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was recovered last weekend after he fell from a plane near Raleigh, North Carolina on Friday afternoon. The pilot did not have a parachute with him when he exited the twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar, raising questions as to whether he fell or jumped from the plane.

The 13-minute recording of a 911 call made by two Federal Aviation Administration employees at the RDU air traffic control tower during the incident may shed light on the situation, with workers suggesting the other pilot on the plane reported Crooks had jumped.

A twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar is inspected after an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport
A twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar is inspected following an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, NC July 29, 2022.Simon Palmore via Twitter

“This is from Raleigh Airport. We have a pilot who came into the field. His co-pilot jumped out of the plane,” an FAA official is heard saying before giving the coordinates of the incident.

“So you said he jumped out of the plane,” they say. “His co-pilot jumped without a parachute so he could hit the ground.”

“I think at this point we can only do one type of salvage,” the dispatcher says at one point.

“Yes I know. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know,” replies another FAA official, who picks up the call. “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever dealt with.”

“I mean, I’m sure that pilot will be shaken up. I have no idea. He literally just said, ‘My pilot just jumped out,'” they say. The identities of the FAA employees have not been released.

There was no indication as to why Crooks might have jumped, and an investigation into exactly what happened is still ongoing.

The plane’s pilot had told air traffic control that there was a problem with the landing gear and had requested an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

They were able to land the plane on a lawn at the airport around 2:40 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.


In a video obtained from an NBC affiliate WRAL by Raleighis seen the plane skid off the runway and rotate in a pitch circle before coming to a stop.

The plane sustained significant damage to the landing gear and fuselage, preliminary information from the National Transportation Safety Board showed The Associated Press.

A number of agencies helped find crooks. His body was recovered in the Fuquay-Varina neighborhood after a local resident stopped an officer who said they heard a noise behind their property.

Crooks’ father, Hew Crooks, recounted it WRAL that his son had been working toward his dream of becoming a pilot for years.

“He got his private pilot license during his studies. I think he got that as a sophomore,” Hew Crooks said. “He said a few weeks ago he wouldn’t switch places with anyone in the world. He loved where he was.”

He said his family was devastated and wondered what exactly happened to their son that day.

“I can’t imagine what happened,” he said. “We’ll find out, I guess.”

Hew Crooks said his son was certified to fly in all conditions and had previously been a flight instructor.

According to the father, his loss left an irreparable gap in the family.

“We are a strong family and we are a very loving family. But this leaves a hole,” he said. Air traffic controllers say co-pilot ‘jumped’ from plane: 911 call

Fry Electronics Team

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