RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — CBS 17 is learning more about the events surrounding a death linked to an emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Friday afternoon.
Officials said before the plane landed a man jumped or fell out of a plane without a parachute and died.
That man was identified as 23-year-old Charles Crooks. CBS 17 contacted his father, who shared photos of Crooks.
One included a photo of Crooks flying the exact same model of plane involved in the incident Friday at RDU.
The father told CBS 17 that his son was “very serious” and an experienced, professional commercial pilot.
First responders found Crooks’ body in the Sonoma Springs neighborhood in Fuquay-Varina.
Crooks or the pilot told air traffic control they lost the right wheel of the aircraft as they tried to make their first landing attempt at an airport near Raeford.
They then decided to try to land at RDU.
Hew Crooks, Charles Crooks’ father, said the last time the family visited with his son was when he came up to the family home in Fairfield, Connecticut for the July Fourth holiday weekend.
In addition to currently working as a pilot for Rampart Aviation, Crooks was a flight instructor for a company based at RDU for a year.
Crooks also had an FAA rating to fly the CASA C-212 Aviocar, which was the cargo plane involved in the incident.
Hew Crooks shared of photo of his son flying a CASA C-212 Aviocar, which he said was among a fleet of such aircraft operated by the company Rampart Aviation.
The investigation has shocked and impacted the Fuquay-Varina neighborhood.
“I think that it’s a little traumatic and they were just surprised that it happened so close to home. To my understanding the man was found deep in some foliage in the backyard so the police had to go in deep to find him,” said Barbara Krolak, who lives in the Sonoma Springs neighborhood.
With part of the landing gear missing, the plane skidded off an RDU runway during landing and ended up in grass nearby.
The plane initially had two people on board — Crooks, and the pilot who was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries.
The FAA and the NTSB are working together and are currently assessing damage on the plane and investigating the case.