North Carolina co-pilot who jumped from plane upset about hard landing: NTSB

'Got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door,' report states of Charles Crooks incident

A co-pilot who reportedly jumped to his death from a small airplane in North Carolina last month was upset over damaging the craft’s landing gear during a failed runaway approach earlier in the day, according to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report released Tuesday

Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was quickly identified as the aircraft's co-pilot after the incident on July 29, which unfolded about 30 miles south of Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The plane’s pilot in command told federal investigators that Crooks "became visibly upset about the hard landing" in the minutes after they diverted to another airport for an emergency landing, the report stated.

The co-pilot opened his side cockpit window and "may have gotten sick," the report stated. He then lowered the ramp in the back of the airplane, indicating that he felt like he was going to be sick and needed air.

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Wake County Emergency Management chief of operations Darshan Patel speaks with a group of reporters on July 29, 2022.

Wake County Emergency Management chief of operations Darshan Patel speaks with a group of reporters on July 29, 2022. (Wake County Government/Twitter)

The report said the co-pilot "got up from his seat, removed his headset, apologized and departed the airplane via the aft ramp door."

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A pilot made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 29, 2022.

A pilot made an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on July 29, 2022. (Google Maps)

Crooks did not have a parachute, and his body was found in a backyard in the town of Fuquay-Varina.

Tuesday’s report said that the two pilots had been flying skydiving runs out of Raeford West Airport earlier in the day. They were descending toward the airport for a third run when the hard landing occurred.

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Crooks was flying the approach when the aircraft "dropped" and both pilots called for a go-around maneuver, the report stated. Before Crooks could initiate a climb, the right main landing gear impacted the runway.

The other pilot assumed the flight controls, the report stated. He directed Crooks to declare an emergency and request a diversion to Raleigh-Durham International Airport for landing.

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The pilot told investigators that Crooks became upset "about 20 minutes into the diversion to RDU, after conducting approach and emergency briefings," the report stated.

Fox News' Lawrence Richard and The Associated Press contributed to this report.