MORRISVILLE, NC (WTVD) — A twin-engine cargo plane made an emergency landing Friday at RDU after reporting problems with the landing gear and a search for a person who had jumped out before the landing was complete with the recovery of a body , Wake County officials said.
Darshan Patel, the operations manager for Wake County Emergency Management Wake EMS, told a 7:15 p.m. briefing that a body matching the description of the missing plane passenger had been found.
The man identified as Charles Hew Crooks, 23, was found near Sunset Lake Road and Hilltop Needmore Road in Fuquay-Varina.
According to Patel, “there was no indication” that Crooks had a parachute.
“We had officers responding to the area for the search and were flagged down by a resident. They had heard something in their backyard that led us to find this individual,” Patel said.
The CASA C-212 Aviocar, manufactured in Spain in 1983 landed on runway 5R-23L around 2:40 p.m. and turned into the grass.
RDU first responders said the pilot on board was taken to Duke Hospital with minor injuries.
The pilot told authorities that a passenger on board jumped before the landing attempt. The jumper was initially thought to have exited the plane to a body of water near West Lake Middle School in Apex. Authorities were actively searching for this area, but later extended the search to the 3200 block of James Slaughter Road in Fuquay-Varina.
“We have a very large search area,” Patel said at a Friday afternoon news conference.
“At this time, what we know is that the passenger was wearing beige pants and a logo shirt,” Patel said. “We don’t have the color, but that’s all the description we have at the moment. We’re working with RDU and the FAA and the pilot
Authorities searched from Apex to the Harnett County line and were working to narrow the search field.
Crews launched a drone to help with the search. Cary was one of several jurisdictions involved in the research. Fire, police and emergency medical services personnel also assisted.
Back at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the airfield was temporarily closed until the scene was secured, RDU officials said.
Runway 5L-23R has reopened while Runway 5R-23L will remain closed until further notice.
At least one American Airlines flight (flight 2693) from Dallas has been hijacked. Others had delayed landings following the incident.
The plane landed after being 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. Attempts to contact Spore LTD and Hoke County Aviation officials were unsuccessful.
The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident.
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