23-year-old identified after leaving plane in midair, falling in Fuquay-Varina neighborhood :: WRAL.com

– Authorities say they have found the body of a man who allegedly jumped or fell from a plane before he approached Raleigh-Durham International Airport for an emergency landing after having trouble with its landing gear.

Late Friday night, police identified the man as 23-year-old Charles Hew Crooks, who was the plane’s co-pilot.

Crooks, who was not wearing a parachute, was found near Sunset Lake Road and Hilltop Needmore Road in a Fuquay-Varina neighborhood.

First responders from more than half a dozen agencies conducting searches on the ground and in the air along the plane’s flight path.

“No precedent for this, relied on training,” one commenter said.

Crooks was wearing tan pants and a shirt with a logo on it, according to Darshan Patel, chief operating officer for Wake County Emergency Management.

A resident reported officers searching the area after claiming he “heard something in their backyard,” Patel said.

The search began around 2:30 p.m. near West Lake Middle School, but eventually moved to the residential area of ​​Fuquay-Varina. They found Crooks around 6:45 p.m., when officials said firefighters helped move his body to a place where it could be moved safely.

According to the FAA, two people were on board the plane at the time of takeoff. However, an RDU spokesperson told WRAL News that only the pilot was on board when it crash-landed.

The pilot, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to Duke Hospital with minor injuries, RDU said.

A WRAL pilot filmed the plane – a twin-engine turbo – skidding off the runway and in the grass at RDU as it landed.

Local law enforcement is reviewing the plane’s flight path, radio traffic, and working with the FAA to determine what happened.

The aircraft, which is owned by SPORE LTD LLC., is a small aircraft for 10 people.

Filmed emergency landing

Video captured by a WRAL Sky 5 pilot shows the plane skidding off the runway, where it circles in a partial circle before coming to a stop, where several fire engines and paramedics can be seen waiting.

The RDU airfield has been temporarily closed until the premises are secure. Runway 5R-23L will remain closed until further notice.

“I saw a whole crowd of people looking out the window at the jet deck and then I saw this propeller plane on the grass beyond the runway and some emergency vehicles,” said Simon Palmore , who witnessed the tumultuous landing of the plane and shared photos. on Twitter,

Hermang Pathak, another witness, said RDU airport had aired an announcement saying departures would not be affected.

A witness, who was on a plane circling over RDU at the time, said the pilot delayed their landing, saying there was a “scare” at the airport.

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