MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — One person jumped or fell and died while another person was injured in an incident involving a small charter plane’s emergency landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Friday afternoon.

At about 3:20 p.m., a medium cargo plane carrying one co-pilot made an emergency landing at RDU. The plane initially had two people on board.

The twin-engine CASA CN-212 Aviocar landed on runway 5R-23L and veered into the grass, according to RDU officials. 

A fire engine was also spotted spraying down the plane.

RDU first responders said one person onboard the plane was taken to Duke Hospital with minor injuries.

Shortly after the plane landed at RDU, local emergency units began searching for a co-pilot that exited the plane while it was in the air before the emergency landing.

Cary officials said parts of their city were among the areas included in the search.

“We had worked with RDU, we had worked with some of our partners to get the aircraft data and try to plot based on timings of calls and things, the points that we had actually worked out to be very close to where the individual as found, which is why we already had responders in the area.” Darshan Patel with Wake County Emergency Management Services said.

Officials with Wake County Emergency Management said an officer was flagged down by someone who heard something in a yard, which led officials to the body from the plane.

CBS 17 spoke to a neighbor in the Sonoma Springs neighborhood where investigators found the body. All the crews caught neighbor’s attention as they searched the area.

Barbara Krolak says she lives just a few houses away from where they found the body. She’s also friends with the family near the home who heard what sounded like a tree branch snapping that caught their attention, and they helped lead investigators to the right location.

“This kind of stuff is like something from a movie, you know, somebody coming out of an airplane,” said Krolak. “So, I think there’s a little bit of relief that he was found, albeit under sad circumstances.”

Officials later confirmed Charles Crooks, 23, was the passenger who jumped or fell from the plane. Crooks was found in a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood.



A path from FlightAware shows several loops when the plane took off from Raeford about an hour and 45 minutes before landing at RDU. Aircraft registration shows the plane is registered to Spore LTD., LLC in Colorado Springs.

RDU officials said Saturday that the aircraft was moved and the runway has reopened. The airport is under normal operations.

Officials said the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will lead the investigation.